The brother of a teenager brutally murdered in a gang attack in Deepdale has launched an anti-knife campaign in his name.Advertisement
Jon-Jo Highton, 18, was stabbed to death by six men seeking retribution for a robbery in August 2014.
His death shocked the city of Preston when it emerged the gang inflicted more than 20 wounds using knives, a sword, a machete and an axe, as Jon-Jo walked defencelessly to his dad’s house in St Stephen’s Road.
Read more: Nine men jailed for murder of Jon-Jo Highton
Since the attack, his older brother Byron has campaigned against knife crime in a bid to spare other families from suffering the trauma he has endured.
Now, the 30-year-old has launched The J-J Effect, a powerful educational talk to warn about the dangers of knife crime to young people across the country.
Working with the police and the CPS, The J-J Effect looks at all aspects of knife crime, from the types of weapons commonly carried, to what to do if someone you know is stabbed, or is carrying a knife.
Using films, photographs and his own grime music and personal experience, Byron hammers home his key message: “Think twice, one knife can end more than one life.”
He says: “The day my brother died was the day my life changed forever.
“You get one life – it’s not a game. You can’t reboot or go back to the start. You have to make the right choices.
“It is not just about carrying a knife. If you associate with someone who does, you are also part of the problem.
“Young people need to know, they can be caught up in knife crime just by the people they mix with. They need to choose their friends wisely.”
Byron has already delivered his workshop to over 15,000 young people at schools and colleges across the country, through his work with The Safety Guide Foundation.
Now he has launched The J-J Effect in memory of Jon-Jo, to take his message further afield.
He says: “I don’t shy away from the reality of it. It is graphic, and it is hard hitting, because that is the reality of knife crime. It destroys lives – not just for the victim, but for everyone around them.
“When I deliver my talks it triggers my PTSD, but that is really powerful in getting the message across. They feel the emotion in the room.
“I have had people cry, young people calling their mums to tell them they love them, it really hits them hard.
“I don’t want any other family to go through what we have been through. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
“I want young people to learn from what happened to my brother. We live with that every day – me, my mum, his young son, all of our family. It will never change.”
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