The mother of a teenager stabbed to death in Stamford Hill in 2010 has relived the hardest call she’s ever had to make as part of an effort to encourage people to report information to Crimestoppers.
Yvonne Lawson MBE joins four other mothers who have lost their sons to knife crime in lending her voice to the Hard Calls Save Lives campaign, supported by the Metropolitan Police.
Her son Godwin, a promising footballer, was just 17 years old when he was set upon after going to the aid of two childhood friends who were under attack from a group of men.
He was stabbed once in the chest and died at the scene.
Moise Avorgah was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 19 years in 2011 after being found guilty of murder.
Lawson recounts the call she made after returning home from the scene of her son’s murder: “I rang my sister. I said, ‘I’ve just been told Godwin has taken his last breath’. My sister was shouting, ‘Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!’ The only balance I had was the floor, just to hold me.
“I was lying down, shouting and screaming in agony and despair. It’s hard to describe the pain. It’s like someone has taken your heart, ripped it apart and pounded on it.
“I just kept crying repeating that word, ‘died, died, died, died, died’. I remember saying ‘Why is it Godwin, why, why, why, why?’ I kept thinking ‘Would I never see him again? Would I never be able to touch him again?’”
She added: “Godwin was stolen away from us in such a terrible way. My family is broken into pieces, just missing him. We didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye, and he’s never going to be there, he’s never going to be part of us anymore.
“The least we can do is use his memory to change lives.”
In 2012, she set up the Godwin Lawson Foundation in memory of her son and to support young people in moving away from crime through sports and education.
For the Hard Calls Save Lives campaign, short films featuring all five mothers will be shown throughout April, supported by adverts on radio, websites and social media.
The aim is to acknowledge that some may be uncomfortable with calling to report information about a crime, but to show that there are harder calls to make.
It is also a reminder for anyone who does not want to contact the police directly that another option is to anonymously call Crimestoppers, an independent charity.
Mick Duthie, director of operations at Crimestoppers, said: “Hearing the mums speak in such an honest, frank and heartfelt way about losing a son to knife crime is incredibly humbling. I truly admire their courage and determination to warn others in their own words about the danger of not speaking up.
He said “everyone who contacts Crimestoppers is guaranteed to stay completely anonymous”, and added: “We’ve always kept our promise since we began back in the 1980s. By working together, we can help make our communities safer and reduce the harm, pain and suffering caused by knife crime.”
The charity says IP addresses and phone calls are never traced.
Earlier this month, the Citizen reported on an appeal from Hackney’s borough commander Marcus Barnett for more help from the community in fighting crime.
You can contact Crimestoppers on freephone 0800 555 111, or use the online form at crimestoppers-uk.org
You can find out more about the Godwin Lawson Foundation here