The parents of murdered teenager Jimmy Mizen said it was “absolutely right” to forgive their son’s young killer but said they will never meet him.
Barry and Margaret Mizen, who made headlines for their positivity in the wake of the murder 10 years ago, also appealed for young people and the community to work together to quell the surge in reported violence, particularly across the capital, as they held a memorial service to mark the anniversary of their son’s unprovoked killing.
Jimmy bled to death in a bakery in Lee, south east London, on May 10 2008, a day after he turned 16, when violent teenager Jake Fahri threw an oven dish at Jimmy.
The dish shattered on his chin and fatally slashed his vital blood vessels.
Speaking at a memorial service at St George’s Cathedral in Southwark, attended by London mayor Sadiq Khan and local schoolchildren, the youngster’s parents reiterated the need to address youth crime across the country.
It comes amid a spate of violence which has seen the Met open 62 murder investigations in the capital this year.
Mrs Mizen also described her final moments with her mortally wounded son.
She told the Press Association: “I can remember everything about that day, in detail.
“He was really happy and three minutes later he was dead.
“I actually got round to the baker’s and I saw him in a pool of blood, one of his brothers was holding him. Jimmy’s life just ebbed away at that moment.
“We’ve met many young people who have committed murder, they’re not bad people, they’ve just made bad decisions that have not only taken the life of someone beautiful, but also ruined their own life as well.
“It’s about getting across to them how it can ruin their lives as well.”
She said it was “highly unlikely” the family, including Jimmy’s eight siblings, would meet Fahri, but said they forgave him.
She said: “I feel it was absolutely right in my heart to forgive him because by forgiving him I’m able to do all the things I want to do, it allows me to look out the window and see the sun shining and the flowers blossoming.
“If I didn’t it would fill me with so much hate that I wouldn’t be able to do these thing.
We’ve met many young people who have committed murder, they’re not bad people, they’ve just made bad decisions that have not only taken the life of someone beautiful, but also ruined their own life as wellMargaret Mizen
“I do forgive him, but I forgive him for myself.
“Wouldn’t it be better if there was much more forgiveness in this world?”
Mr Mizen said he had “no desire” to avenge his son’s death, and added the incident, aided by their Christian faith and the support of wellwishers, had brought his family closer together.
He said: “I don’t want retribution, I don’t want to be eaten away, I don’t want it to destroy the relationship with my wife or do untold damage to my children.
“I forgive him but I forgive him for myself.”
Mr Mizen said they created the For Jimmy charity to help with community cohesion and create Safe Havens where youngsters can seek temporary sanctuary in local shops if they feel threatened.
I forgive him but I forgive him for myselfBarry Mizen, on his son's killer
Asked about the current situation, he said: “The notion of a harsher punishment will control everything clearly doesn’t work because otherwise things wouldn’t be going in the direction they’re going.
“It’s so important we don’t give up.
“I wonder how much of an influence social media has in this in stoking the fires. But for us it’s about a community response – what can we do to support our young people?
“Everything else seems to be failing. A much stronger community response has not really been tried.”
Speaking after she left the service, Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “Jimmy’s parents and family are incredibly inspiring – they always give people a message of hope.
“It’s through and with young people that we will – we will – stop this horrific knife crime that’s going on at the moment.”