'Enough is enough': Marcel Addai's mum Philippa speaks out ahead of peace march against knife crime
PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 May 2017 | UPDATED: 18:32 11 May 2017
The mother of murdered teenager Marcel Addai will lead a bitter community outcry against knife crime at a huge peace march through Hackney this weekend.
Philippa Addai, speaking publicly for the first time since her son died, will head a rally against the “killing that is going on every single day” – because knife crime is a “constant reminder” to her of what happened.
Marcel was 17 when he was chased and stabbed 14 times in St John’s Estate, Pitfield Street, Hoxton.
He tried to run away but was seen to fall to the ground by witnesses before being kicked, punched and stabbed in his heart.
Philippa is nervous about speaking in public, but feels the need to “do something positive” in her son’s memory.
"He loved his football, he loved Arsenal, he loved his sister who’s 10 – he would be upstairs with her laying on his lap talking away."
“In the beginning I was very emotionless – I didn’t believe it,” she told the Gazette.
“But now is the time to actually sort this epidemic out which is spreading out of control. No one is immune.
“You can’t just flick a switch and not care. It’s our future and we need to care about it.”
Philippa found it “too much” to attend the whole trial but was shocked by the behaviour of the seven men in the dock on the few occasions she made it. Four of them were found guilty of murder.
“They were so very emotionless and one of them looked very angry,” she said. “There should have been a lot more emotion – they seemed as though they had switched that off. I don’t understand.”
Her message to those involved in knife crime is this: they need to realise they have families who love them. “Families don’t want to bury them – they need to stop this,” she said.
“Nowadays they just don’t seem to care who they hurt. They think they are indestructible and nothing is going to hurt them, but when I see some of them in the street you can tell they aren’t happy. They are looking over their shoulder when they hear the police sirens and that’s not a nice way to live.”
Philippa didn’t find out until the day after his death that Marcel had been killed, because she was living in Coventry and studying for a diploma in tourism.
She said she had no idea that Marcel, a former Urswick School pupil who was living with her parents in Hoxton, was involved with the wrong crowd.
“It’s very difficult to come to terms with it all. I never thought I would lose him so soon,” she said.
“It’s horrible circumstances, but no one has a right to take a life. He was good at school. He was so brainy and so kind to his sister. He was loving.
“He loved his football, he loved Arsenal, he loved his sister who’s 10 – he would be upstairs with her laying on his lap talking away.”
Threats made between gangs on professionally produced rap videos posted on YouTube were “at the heart” of the attack according to the judge.
“In the past there wasn’t any place where people could post their videos,” said Philippa. “There has been a gang problem everywhere for as long as I can remember, but stop and search was around years ago and I thought that was working. This is also down to the community keeping quiet too much.”
The march has been organised by The Crib youth club to say: “Enough is enough.”
Jannette Collins from the club said: “We are living in a lawless society. We can‘t let these thugs rule. People are living lawlessly and prison must be a joke for them.”
Other mothers who have lost their sons to knife crime will also deliver speeches – including Michelle McPhillips whose son JJ was stabbed in Islington in February, and Keeley Burns, whose son Charlie was killed in South Hackney three years ago.
Cllr Caroline Selman will also be talking at the rally. Marchers will meet at Islington Green at 1pm on Sunday.