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Mother speaks out on knife crime after two convicted over son’s death

Eddie O’Rourke was stabbed to death in his home town of Runcorn, Cheshire.

Eddie O’Rourke was stabbed to death (Cheshire Police/PA)
Eddie O’Rourke was stabbed to death (Cheshire Police/PA)

The mother of a man stabbed to death at an 18th birthday party has said we need to get knives off our streets, after two people were convicted over the killing of her son.

Jayne White spoke out after two teenagers were convicted at Liverpool Crown Court over the killing of Eddie O’Rourke, 18, in his home town of Runcorn, Cheshire, on September 7.

A long-running feud, centred on a girl, between Mr O’Rourke and Joe Ward, 18, escalated when the pair saw each other at the British Legion Club in Halton Village, said Cheshire Police.

Ward later collected a 12-inch bladed knife in the club doorway from a 15-year-old boy before he got into a fight with Mr O’Rourke outside and stabbed him once in the stomach.

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CCTV of the 15-year-old offender handing Joe Ward the weapon in the doorway of the Royal British Legion (Cheshire Police/PA)

Mr O’Rourke later died in hospital.

Both offenders fled the scene but were arrested the following day.

It emerged Ward had previously threatened in messages to “cut” his victim, while the 15-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, bought a machete on the internet in the week of the fatal stabbing.

Ward claimed he acted in self-defence and the 15-year-old argued he did not know the knife would be used to harm someone when he handed it over to his older friend, said police.

Jurors found Ward, of Lockfield, Runcorn, guilty of murder and the 15-year-old guilty of manslaughter.

Both defendants will be also be sentenced at a later date for possession of an offensive weapon in a public place.

Following the verdicts, Ms White said: “There will never be words to describe the impact Eddie’s death has had on my family.

“I am a mother without her son and his three sisters and two brothers are without their older brother.

“We need to get knives off our streets.

“My kids and I intend to do whatever we can to support the police and our community in this regard.

“We need a combined approach against the impact of knife crime and we all need to take responsibility.

“We as parents need to make sure that we know what our children are doing and what they are carrying around with them.

“There is never a positive outcome to knife crime, which can have life-changing consequences for everyone involved.”

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The knife that was used to kill Eddie O’Rourke (Cheshire Police/PA)

Chief Inspector Sarah Heath, of Runcorn Local Policing Unit, said: “The police cannot beat knife crime without the help of the local community and we urge anyone with information about people who may be carrying knives to come forward and speak to us or pass this information on to Crimestoppers.”

Damion Lloyd of Mersey Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service said: “This was meant to be a party to mark a young person’s coming of age.

“Instead, these two defendants used it as opportunity to kill another young person that they had some sort of a grudge against.

“Eddie O’Rourke was going out with Joe Ward’s ex-girlfriend and that appears to have been the key reason why the victim was killed. What a shocking explanation for the loss of a young life.”

PA

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