Royston sister of stabbing victim pushes for tougher knife crime sentences

PUBLISHED: 15:31 18 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:31 18 March 2019

Karen Blackaby (right) is calling for tougher knife crime sentences after her brother Lee Pomeroy was stabbed to death on a train. Picture: Courtesy of Karen Blackaby

Karen Blackaby (right) is calling for tougher knife crime sentences after her brother Lee Pomeroy was stabbed to death on a train. Picture: Courtesy of Karen Blackaby

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The Royston sister of a man who was killed on a train in front of his 14-year-old son is backing a petition for tougher prison sentences for those who carry knives.

Lee Pomeroy as a child. Picture: Karen BlackabyLee Pomeroy as a child. Picture: Karen Blackaby

Karen Blackaby’s brother Lee Pomeroy died from knife wounds on a train near Horsley in Surrey on January 4 this year – the 51-year-old was heading to London with his son for an early birthday trip.

Darren Pencille, 36, denies murdering Mr Pomeroy on the Guildford to London Waterloo South Western Railway service. He was also charged with possessing a knife.

His partner Chelsea Mitchell, 27, is charged with assisting an offender and the trial at the Old Bailey is due to start on Monday, June 24.

Mrs Blackaby told the Crow: “My brother was a hard-working man, very intelligent, and devoted to his family. His birthday was the next day so he was taking a trip to London with his 14-year-old son.

Lee Pomeroy was killed on a train in Surrey. Picture: Karen BlackabyLee Pomeroy was killed on a train in Surrey. Picture: Karen Blackaby

“It happened about 1pm and I had been looking after my mum in Essex.

“I got a call from his wife at 5pm, a phone call that nobody wants to have. I was screaming ‘no, no, no’.

“I was devastated, I couldn’t believe that this has happened to our family.

“My mother is 81 and had a stroke last year, now she is grieving for her son.”

Lee Pomeroy's Order of Service. Picture: Karen BlackabyLee Pomeroy's Order of Service. Picture: Karen Blackaby

Mrs Blackaby – who has lived in Royston for 20 years and works at the town’s Tesco Extra store – and her sister Kim, 51, are backing a petition for tougher sentences for knife crime.

The 55-year-old said: “We want 10 years if you carry a knife and 25 years if you use it.

“A stranger started the petition, but we are promoting it because we want this to be debated in the House of Commons, we want this for our brother and we want it to act as a deterrent to those thinking of using a knife. It’s a national crisis.

“You can’t even go to a park now without someone having a knife. This isn’t stopping at teenage knife crime, there are adult victims too – my brother was 51.

Karen Blackaby's wreath at her brother's funeral. Picture: Karen BlackabyKaren Blackaby's wreath at her brother's funeral. Picture: Karen Blackaby

“He was my little brother, you don’t expect to bury your little brother who was killed in front of his son, it’s disgusting.

“Lee was a quiet man – a very private man who had a public death.

“We never wanted to join a club of people with a family member killed in this way, so we are using it to stop this now, to get knives off the street and to act as a deterrent to those who carry them. If it saves a life of one person then it means what we are doing now is worth it, and means a family hasn’t got to go through what my family are going through.”

A petition calling for people found with a knife to be given a 10-year sentence and 25 years for using a knife has almost reached the 100,000 signatures needed to be considered for a debate in Parliament.

To view it, visit petition.parliament.uk/petitions/233926.

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