A mum from Calne whose son was stabbed took the brave step of going public to front a police knife awareness drive, saying: “I am speaking for mothers everywhere across the county.”
Carol Tait has volunteered to be the face of Operation Sceptre, a new police campaign aimed at trying to deter people from carrying knives and to dump them in an amnesty bin.
Mrs Tait, 54, was moved to act as she still lives with the memory of the time three years ago when she was told that her son Cameron, then 21, was stabbed in the stomach after an argument with a 19-year-old man in the car park at Calne’s Bremhill View Social Club.
Cameron’s life was saved by his quick-thinking friends, who staunched the blood using clean clothing. The young man spent five months in hospital.
“The stab-wound was only one and a half inches wide, but Cameron’s injuries were life-changing,” said Mrs Tait.
“It damaged his pancreas and his stomach muscles and he had sepsis twice. He was in a coma for two weeks. The damage that was done was horrific.”
Speaking at the launch of Operation Sceptre at St James’s Church in Devizes, Mrs Tait added: “I’ve come here because something needs to be done about the growing problem of knife crime.
“Something has to be done to educate the kids about the consequences of carrying a knife and stabbings – they don’t realise the damage it can cause.
“The message is simple – just don’t do it. I am speaking here on behalf of mothers everywhere across Wiltshire. People who use a knife don’t realise how it’s not only the victim who is affected but also his whole family, his friends, with the worry and stress of it. Cameron’s little brother, who was only 12 at the time, really struggled with it all.”
Cameron’s attacker was jailed for four-and-a-half years, after being found guilty by a Swindon jury of GBH. He was cleared of a more serious charge of wounding with intent.
Mrs Tait said that she would like to see tougher sentencing for knife crimes but she believed that a key deterrent lay in education by the police in schools.
“I’d like to see something done like the drive safely campaigns that they teach school pupils in Year 12, where the messages are hard-hitting and the kids hear the stories of people who have lost loved ones and who have been badly injured in accidents; something really hard-hitting like that needs to be done to educate the kids.
“People who carry or use knives don’t think about the ripple effect. It doesn’t only change the lives of the victim’s family, it changes the lives of the attacker’s family. As I said, just don’t do it.”