Tracy Prescott: ‘The day I berated the Hoxton Boys and launched the Enough is Enough movement to combat knife crime’
- Credit: Dakshaini Palicha
Tracy Prescott, who has devoted her life to fighting knife crime, tells the Gazette how the death of her son’s best friend spurred her to start a movement.
The day after Marcel Addai was stabbed to death in 2015, Tracy Prescott stormed over to the St John’s Estate where he had collapsed in the street to confront the gang known as the Hoxton Boys.
“I asked them: ‘What vitamins didn’t we take when we were carrying you?’,” she told the Gazette. “We were starting to look at our own selves as mothers. We were so fed up.
“I said: ‘Why? Come on. What is this? Go and get an education and go and do something.’ It’s like they were a different breed of human beings. I was so ashamed.
“All I could hear was clapping and I looked up and loads of people in the flats above were looking out the windows. I’ve got quite a loud voice.”
Although the Hoxton Boys did not kill Marcel, they were in a fierce dispute with another gang whose members did.
Marcel’s death really shook up Tracy. Her son, who was 18 at the time, was Marcel’s best friend and could have just as easily been a target had he not been at home with his girlfriend that night.
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Tracy feels young people have “just gone crazy” and believes things were different when she grew up in Murray Grove – which she says had more of a community spirit back then.
Her mother was nine when she moved to the UK with her own parents from Barbados. Leaving school, Tracy became a mobile hairdresser, then a driving instructor aged 21, having only needed five lessons to pass her own test.
But two years ago, after Marcel’s death and that of Moses Fadairo, Tracy set up the group Enough is Enough with Janette Collins to bring together parents of knife crime victims – like JJ McPhilips’ mum Michelle and Marcel’s mum Philippa.
“I do it all voluntary,” said Tracy.
“It’s something I’m passionate about.
“This is my hobby. I saw the grief of my son and it was terrible. I couldn’t believe the area I grew up in had changed so much, and kids were getting murdered.”
They have brought the “epidemic” of knife crime into the spotlight through organising two marches from Islington to Hackney, and Tracy and Janette “talk to the kids all the time”.
“They are all polite with us, but we can’t always be there in their lives,” said Tracy.
“Before I die, and I’m only 47, I want to see a change.”