The grieving mum of football hopeful Dea-John Reid, who had ambitions to become a dentist, has told of her heartache at losing her talented son.
Fourteen year-old Dea-John was fatally hunted down by a gang “like a pack chasing down their prey” last May.
Tod.ay (Friday, May 6) his 15 year-old killer, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was jailed for six-and-a-half years at Birmingham Crown Court. He was cleared of murder, but convicted of manslaughter.
The court heard the attack was in retaliation for one of the group being mugged for his bag.
Michael Shields, 36, George Khan, 39, and a two other youths were all cleared of murder while Hollie Davies, 36, was found not guilty of assisting an offender.
In a heartbreaking statement, Dea-John’s mother Joan Morris said: “Dea-John Reid my son, my handsome son, is no longer with us.
“He was my son, a brother, an uncle and a nephew, a cousin, and a friend.
“Monday, 31st May 2021 will be a day in my life that I will never forget.
"After seeing my son bouncing around with life, he went out to play football and never returned despite me speaking to him at approximately 7pm on the evening of 31st of May 2021, telling me that he would be home in 40 minutes, which never came.
“The only call I had was from a friend telling me that my son had been hurt in Kingstanding and that I should make my way there which I duly did, only to see in the middle of College Road a blue tent behind a police cordon for which I was told my son was lying on the ground underneath the tent dead as he had been stabbed. Being told that I cannot go and see my son or cuddle him.
"Suddenly, my youngest baby at the tender age of 14 had gone and all I was being told is that I cannot even see him. The next time I saw him was in a mortuary in Coventry.
“It dawned upon me that my son Dea-John, a budding footballer someone who wanted to be a dentist had been torn away out of my life breaking my heart into pieces, by the actions of others, forever.
“Dea- John used to be there for me, he would make me a cup of tea, get my medication. We had a fantastic relationship, which was abruptly destroyed by the actions of others.
“The final act of love I could show to my son was to ensure he had the send-off which he deserved.
“Whilst members of the perpetrator’s family will be able to visit their loved one and eventually see him released back in the community, my only visit to Dea-John, is to a grave in a cemetery.
“My only reunion with Dea-John may well be if I am still in this country, to join him in his grave when the Lord calls me home.”
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. BirminghamWorld is Birmingham’s latest news website, championing everything that is great about our city - reporting on news, lifestyle and sport. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.