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The family of Andre Gayle have released the following statement, which was read outside Bristol Crown Court following the sentencing of four men for his murder:
“Our son Andre was well known throughout the communities of Easton and St Paul’s in Bristol, having come from a large family and growing up amongst the cricket fraternity, playing for Gloucester County and Bristol West Indies.
“Andre was well known by both young and old, touching the hearts of many and this is evident at the outpouring of grief and shock at such a heinous crime, resulting in many members of the communities coming forward to give evidence and written statements, for which we are most grateful.
“Andre was proud of his West Indian heritage. He loved music, dance, fast cars and travelling. Family was important to him and he always protected those he loved and cared for. He was a proud father and would often discuss the plans he had for his children’s future, but sadly these will never come to fruition. His children have been denied growing up with their father playing a pivotal role in their lives. The implications of this are yet to be revealed, as a family we have to try to support them as they enter many transitions in their life.
“To say we are grief-stricken would be an understatement. The whole family is badly affected and are trying to cope. The fabric of the family has been ripped apart and the void can never be filled.
“We miss Andre’s infectious laugh, his dry sense of humour, his boundless energy and zest for life. Holding onto those memories enables us to get through each day and the endless photographs and videos we have of him.
“Throughout the six-week trial we have had to listen to witness statements and hear forensic evidence depicting and describing the awful injuries inflicted in a frenzied and savage attack. We also had to watch CCTV footage of our son being chased and then brutally stabbed nine times. This has not only been traumatising for us, but will never leave our minds.
“These murderers have shown no remorse at all – often smirking at us from the dock. They are only sorry that they were eventually caught and there is no doubt in our minds if these men were not brought to justice, it would only be a matter of time before they would strike and kill again.
“Nothing will bring back our son, but I hope the sentencing will reflect the severity of this awful crime and for the sake of our family and Andre’s children, I hope these men will serve a lengthy sentence so that people in Bristol can feel much safer and our children and grandchildren can grow up in safe communities and environs.
“Throughout the UK there has been an epidemic of murders by brutal stabbings; too many families are left to mourn the loss of their loved ones. The only solution and deterrent is for lengthy sentences which reflects these awful crimes.
“As a family we would like to thank Avon and Somerset Police, the homicide team, police liaison team, victim support and the prosecuting barrister – without these people’s support, hard work and dedication, we wouldn’t have got justice.
“We would also like to thank the loyal friends and family who have supported us throughout this emotional rollercoaster. You have been invaluable.”