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These are Irene Muthemba’s words as she prepares to mark her son Eddie King Muthemba Kinuthia’s 20th birthday on Monday 22 January – six months after his death.
“Today marks six months since that dreadful day last July when Eddie was brutally attacked and killed on Grosvenor Road in St Paul’s, just yards away from our doorstep.
“Today is also Eddie’s birthday. The day he would have turned 20 years old. It is a day we’ve always celebrated with so much joy, as the special day I held him in my arms for the first time.
“Six months ago, on the 22 July, I held my child in my arms as we desperately tried to save his life as he lay bleeding on the street. There are no words to express our pain, our grief and our trauma as we continue to mourn the loss of Eddie’s life.
“Today, we won’t be singing happy birthday with joy and celebration, nor will we be singing Eddie’s favourite chorus as we always do, which goes: ‘Is today your special day? We’ve been waiting all year and it’s finally here.’
“Instead we will commemorate his birthday in anguish and with utterly broken hearts, knowing with deep sadness and regret that he didn’t see this day that he was so excitedly looking forward to.
“He was gonna travel and see the world. He gave his life to Christ and was gonna turn his life around and work towards becoming a mentor. He had big dreams and aspirations. He had a great talent in music and lyrics plus endless potential and determination. He was so enthusiastic, positive and confident.
“He had much hope in the face of many challenges that come with growing up. And while I didn’t always approve of some of his choices, I love him unconditionally, endlessly and continually. Our whole of our family loves and misses him dearly.
“His friends desperately miss him too, and have shown us tremendous love and support these past six months as they too come to terms with losing him.
“Our community is still trying to heal and learn, no that no other family has to go through what we’ve gone through.
“Bristol is a closely knit and quite an integrated city and community. Most people know someone who knows someone that might know something that could help us solve Eddie’s murder.
“Somewhere in this city there’s a parent, grandparent, sibling, auntie, uncle, cousin, spouse, a friend, a colleague, a neighbour or a friend of a friend that has information that can bring Eddie’s killers to justice.
“But they have not come forward, because they may be thinking it is not relevant or important. But if it is something that doesn’t sit right with you, why not come forward and let the police decide whether it is important and relevant or not?
“If this is your child that is involved in any way in that horrendous incident that ended a young life, why would you keep silent? Because while you’re keeping to that code of silence, you are assisting a murderer.
“You are communicating to our youth that it is OK to carry knives, and that it is not that deep or serious to take a person’s life.
“You are affirming their actions and letting them believe that you don’t care about what they have done. You are allowing them to think that you don’t care about the devastation that their actions have brought to another family.
“So while our family drowns in grief, you are covering your ears and burying your head in the sand.
“This is not going to go away. This country has seen enough bloodshed and it is not going to stop, until we all start to take it personally. As individuals, as families, as communities, as a nation and most important just as human beings … to find it in our hearts to do what is right. To seek peace and pursue it. To advocate for justice and teach our children that life is precious.
“Justice may not bring Eddie back, but it may bring closure. And so fighting for justice for him will bring healing to many. It may change another life or even save another life.”