Sittingbourne teenager Johnny Jacob Brazil has been found guilty of a vicious knife attack that left a man fighting for his life.
The attack happened in Barnes Close Faversham, just before 9pm, on Saturday 1 August 2015 where Kent Police, who were responding to calls of a disturbance, found a man had been stabbed with a large kitchen knife. The victim, who is 25 years old, was then rushed by air ambulance to a London hospital and had to be kept in hospital for six days to be treated for his injuries.
The weapon, was later recovered in bushes on a rural road near Teynham.
19 year old Brazil was arrested and charged the next day with wounding with intent, threatening a person with a bladed article in a public place and two counts of common assault. He denied all four charges but was found guilty of grievous bodily harm by a jury at Maidstone Crown Court . He was also found guilty of common assault after punching a 27-year-old man outside shops in Priory Row just minutes prior to the stabbing. He was found not guilty of the remaining charges.
Brazil is due to be sentenced on a later date due to be set.
This particular Monday Matters marks the last of ‘usual’ programming we will do until 2016!! Although I WON’T be playing ANY CHRISTMAS MUSIC TONIGHT! (well apart from beds & jingles!) -although the songs I will play ARE linked to Christmas.
Tonight I’m playing – Non-Christmas – Christmas music!!
All the songs I’m going to play were in the UK Top 20 on the 25th of December on their year of release! So, they may bring back memories of Christmas – but they were not Christmas songs! There are some crackers as well – who remembers…..The Barron Knights; Jellybean Ft Elisa Fiorllo; a cracker of a song by Chicken Shed?; Kate Bush’s – Rocket Man?; Godley & Creme? There are loads of great songs that were in the charts on 25th December – but that YOU WON’T hear on a loop in Asda, Tesco’s or Morrisons!!!
Also, instead of our featured artist -I bring you: Jason’s Christmas December Disco – where I play 4 1970s disco songs that were also in the top 20 charts on 25th December – including: Billy Ocean, Rose Royce, Donna Summer & MJ….
AND Let us not forget – The premiere of the latest Star Wars movie The Force Awakens, takes place in Los Angeles later. There will be a Star Wars – NOT IN THE NEWS…special between 7pm and 8pm.
After Jason’s Christmas December Disco; Kyra brings us this weeks music news (the last of 2015) and then our Roving Reporter Bonnie Britain files her latest report about a MoleculeArt event in London’s South Bank Oxo Tower – where she drank cocktails and sprayed all different types of paint on to canvas as part of an art exhibition.
In the final hour it’s my last interview of 2015 – which is with the author, blogger and writer Lisa Wilson (aka Juror13). Lisa has blogged from various trials and writes her articles from the perspective of a juror.
Tonight we discuss the life and trial of Oscar Pistorius and how he shouldn’t of been at the Olympics at all – but he bullied his way on to the ticket. Lisa has met the family of Reeva Steenkamp and will discuss the continuation of the work that Reeva was embarking by her mother June. The foundation seeks to help and protect women from violent men or relationships. Oscar Pistorius – the man he really is – is after 9pm (GMT).
We are in the middle of a heated debate in the UK as to whether we should or should not use our armed forces to bomb Syria. Whether we do or wether we do not will be decided by a vote of our MPs on Wednesday.
Let’s be clear. If Paris had been London – the discourse would be very different and it is important that we take this opportunity to be thankful that we make such decisions with a cool head and not as a reaction to horrific events. That said – we need to realise the real dangers we face as British citizens – like the horrors that we saw on a beach in Tunisia – or that of in France. The Russian flight that was blown up over Egypt’s Sinai desert could well of been a British flight. Wether we like it or not – we are targets – wether or not we bomb in Syria.
There are those who are totally opposed to bombing. I understand their concerns. However, the truth is that bombing HAS worked. It decimated their high command; helped halt their advance and in many cases pushed them back; spreads fear and dread throughout the ranks of Daesh who worry that every time they step outside or jump into a vehicle – they could be killed or maimed. That in turn helps disrupt their mobility and ability to hold gatherings outside of their strong hold and if they need to communicate over long distances – they take a chance with their lives or use technology which can be intercepted and used against them.
Bombing Has Limitations
That said, bombing has limitations. We know already that there is a complex network of tunnels and command centres placed underneath the houses and hospitals of innocent Syrian people. The extremists use these dug outs knowing that if and when they get bombed – they survive but the innocent men, women and children above ground die; their deaths then captured and edited into slick horror videos distributed to easily suggestible men and women around the world who do not comprehend the context of how they actually died.
The real question for MP’s to ask of the Government on Wednesday is not just whether we should bomb Syria. Whether we do or do not will not make much of a difference. This fact we know. We also know Daesh will be defeated in Syria and Iraq. Maybe not next week, next month or next year. But they will. And we know this because – they are a death cult. They are only interested in death. And before they die they want to ensure they subjugate, kill, terrorise and torture anyone under their control. This is not something desired by the masses – no matter how deep rooted they are to a religion. Daesh has limited appeal.
Even the use of the word “defeat” is a simplification. Like defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan!
So, when we say “defeat” what we actually mean is turn them from a group which controls large swathes of a country and its population – into a small group of bandits and guerrillas who still hold the same ideology but terrorise on a much smaller scale and are dealt with at a local level before eventually being replaced with some other ideology and becoming a footnote in history.
The real question for MP’s to ask of the Government on Wednesday is: What do you think Syria will look like in 1, 3 & 5 years time and what do you base this on? (as apposed to what do you want it to look like). What is our end game? When Daesh is defeated – what could fill the vacuum? Who are they? What are their aims? How far are you prepared to go militarily – understanding that bombing has its limits? Weapons? Training? Our soldiers?
The West is adamantly opposed to Russian backed President Bashar al-Assad – yet backs the free Syrian army – which is adamantly apposed by Russia and President Bashar al-Assad. In order to root out Daesh we may need to work with Russia and Assad – how do we feel about this? Will we need to adjust our policy to Assad – what about the thousands and millions killed or made refugees by his Government – what are our “lines to take” when answering their questions? Can we feasibly have two opposing policies operating at one time? With Assad – but against? With Russia, but against?
And when Daesh are finally sent scurrying off into the desert – who will replace them? Do we know? Do we think we know? Have we post-Daesh plans? What do we do if Assad tries to reclaim control of the country? If we commit to side fully with the free Syrian army and this group of 70,000 militants ready to rout out Daesh from places such as Raqqa – what happens if they are then bombed by Assad or Russia? What if we find ourselves backing an army which finds itself fighting against Assad and Russia. Where are the lines drawn? When do we STOP?
So, whether we bomb or do not bomb Syria will probably turn out to be of less importance than wether we are or are not prepared for the end of Daesh control in the region and whether we finally find the stomach to square up to President Putin – when he tries to exert control in the region.
Police have launched an appeal for witnesses after a 51 year old Sittingbourne male motorcyclist died on the A2 London Road in Bapchild on Sunday 6 September. Kent Police told SFM News that a blue and silver Suzuki motorbike was travelling along the A2 in the direction of Teynham when it was involved in a collision with a silver Volkswagen Jetta at the junction with Hempstead Lane just after 10am. Emergency services, including Kent Air Ambulance attended but the biker died at the scene.
The biker has been named as local man Andrew David Beaney.
In a tribute David’s family said:
‘He was a loving family man and a hard working father of four. Andrew was also a husband and a grandfather of four who loved his dog.
‘He loved both watching and playing football and he had many friends. He will be sorely missed especially by his family and all who knew him.’
Appeal – can you help?
Officers would like to speak to anyone who saw the collision, or who saw either the motorcycle or the car beforehand. The road remains closed in both directions.
Witnesses who have not yet spoken to police are asked to contact the serious collision investigation unit on 01622 798538 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
A newspaper is on the kitchen table, displaying pictures of the four suicide bombers’ impenetrable eyes – or maybe it just seems that way to me. For the first time, I look properly and deeply at the picture of Mohammed Sidique Khan, the one responsible for the death of my daughter.
I am full of loathing. I feel no compassion for him. Did Jenny look into those eyes, I wonder, in the instant of her death or seconds before? The mere thought of it is intolerable and I thrust the paper to one side.
People say that it’s the not-knowing which is the worst time, the waiting. I don’t feel that to be true. In the not-knowing, there is hope and in the waiting there is possibility.
This – reality, facts, confirmation that Jenny has been identified through dental records – is worse: all the hope and possibility we nurtured and cherished in the five days after the 7/7 bombings disappeared yesterday.
Numbness is creeping through me. I curl up on my sister’s sofa at her house in Reading, where I’ve been staying ever since I started searching for my daughter. My eyes fix on the doorway, and over and over I think I see Jenny walk through, kick off her shoes and smile. This is not comforting; it’s a longing.
I want to see my daughter’s body. I know this is something I must do, yet the police seem reluctant and slightly embarrassed. I sense that pressure has been put on our two family liaison officers to dissuade me from going straight to the mortuary in London.
Who is looking after Jenny? Who is honouring her, taking care of her? Nobody has answers, only advice: better that I wait until she can be moved to an undertaker’s in Reading – where she has a house with her partner, James. I acquiesce, even though I have to live with the realisation that I’m abandoning my child to bureaucracy because I didn’t insist hard enough or long enough for an alternative.
Then the police call to ask if I’d like a priest with me when I go to see her. They’re clearly concerned about the impact her injuries will have on me.
But I know I’ll be OK, and that this is something I want to do on my own for my daughter, and for myself. In this one thing I feel strong, empowered, as if Jenny were drawing me to her, compelling me to attend to certain things.
I feel I must see for myself and touch for myself; I must care for her in death. In the simplest mother-and-child ritual, I want to tuck Jenny into bed and prepare her for sleep. I believe with all my heart that this is what she would want from me.
I’m going to anoint her body. In religious terms, anointing is a symbol of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but more importantly for me it’s a ritual which transcends words. It reflects the intimacy of mother and child, the intimacy of loving, human touch.
The image I now carry in my heart is the Pieta: the image of a suffering mother who’s had her heart pierced. It’s an image of a mother having her child’s body restored to her when everyone else is done with it: broken, damaged and with all the life gone from it. At the moment, I feel it’s all that faith has to offer me.
The little phial of oil I’ll be using, loaned by a local priest, is in a large Georgian silver container. There was some mirth among my family when it was delivered to the house in a Tesco carrier bag.
‘The notion of God holding Jenny in his hands, when only yesterday I looked upon her lifeless and mutilated body, is anathema’
When I arrive at the undertaker’s, Pauline, one of our police family liaison officers, is waiting. She leads the way down a dimly-lit corridor. Nothing has prepared me for entering the room and seeing the coffin. No imagining or past experience. It is stark and shocking.
For a while all I can do is stand and stare, too full of fear to move forward. Pauline has taken my hand and guided me over to where I’m now standing, looking down at my daughter’s body shrouded mostly in muslin.
‘You can hold her hand,’ Pauline is saying gently.
My hand is warm and shaking and Jenny’s is cold and still. It isn’t enough. I want to lift her body out, hold her in my arms and breathe life into her.
I make do with leaning over and kissing every finger, examining them as I did when she was born. Her nails are flush with the end of her fingers.
‘She kept her nails short, because of playing the piano,’ I say. I realise I’ve spoken in the past tense. ‘
I can only anoint Jenny’s hand and place my hand under hers, looking for a moment at both our hands resting together on the cover. Then I dip the middle finger of my other hand into the oil and prepare to anoint with the sign of the Cross.
‘I can’t remember the words!’ I cry out in panic. Pauline is standing back in the corner of the room.
‘I’m sure whatever you say will be perfect.’
And so I proceed with anointing my daughter’s body.
‘In your beginning I anointed you with water, blood and milk, blessed you with tears… and now I anoint you with oil in the name of this mystery we call God…’
The words continue, not liturgically correct but from the depths of my being, and tears flow and merge with the oil on Jenny’s lifeless lovely hand until there are no more words, only tears and sobs, from a mother standing over her daughter’s coffin and a police officer in the far corner of the room. I believe it was for this moment that I was ordained a priest.
‘It’s Jenny,’ I confirm to my sister Vanda when I arrive back at her house. ‘I could tell by her hands.’
I know I must phone my husband Greg and our children Lizzie and Thomas, but I think I must be a little bit in shock. I’m finding it difficult to talk and can’t stop shaking.
In the sitting room, I curl up on the sofa in the foetus position, cradling a tight little bundle of Jenny’s T-shirts. I feel so full of my daughter and so empty of anything else.
Later, in my room, I kiss the bundle and place it in my suitcase as lovingly and carefully as if it were a baby being set down in a crib. I even talk to the bundle: ‘How mad is your mother becoming, Jenny?’
I zip the suitcase shut but then change my mind and open it up again. Closed, the case is too much like a coffin.
These are strange thoughts and fancies, and I’m very glad of my six-year-old nephew William’s appearance in the doorway.
‘Grief has come too early to James. It shows its bleakness in his hunched shoulders. Jenny’s death is the death of their future together’
There’s a question in his voice.
‘How big was the bomb? Do you think it was this big?’ William is forming his hands to the size and shape of a football. ‘Or was it this big?’ He’s now stretching his arms around and in front of him as though he’s holding a large beach ball.
I tell him it probably wasn’t that big because the bomber carried it in his backpack.
It’s now ten days since Jenny was killed. As I take a cup of coffee to my 17-year-old son Thomas, it dawns on me I’ve hardly spent any time with him.
He shrugs his shoulders in a hopeless gesture: ‘I miss Jenny.’
His face is crumbling. ‘I don’t get it. Why they wanted to kill people in their own country. Why couldn’t they go somewhere else to do it? Jenny was so good. Why did they have to kill her? I hate them for what they did.’
At the kitchen table, my 22-year-old daughter Lizzie has been looking at some of the newspaper reports and is becoming very upset.
‘How dare they put a picture of these murdering bastards next to a picture of my sister,’ she says.
She’s picked up a pen and is scribbling over the page, wielding the instrument with ferocity until the four faces are covered in blue ink and the paper torn.
Meanwhile, masses of cards are still arriving: simple messages of condolence, outpourings of grief and attempts at comfort. One card, though, provokes an angry response from me. The message inside reads ‘God is holding Jenny in his hands.’
If God is holding Jenny in his hands now, why wasn’t he holding her in his hands when she died? Why didn’t he keep her safe?
Every card is kindly meant, I know that. Even so, I don’t believe anything is that simple. The notion of God holding Jenny in his hands, when only yesterday I looked upon her lifeless and mutilated body, is anathema.
The next morning, I go round to see Jenny’s partner, James, at the house they shared. He makes me a cup of tea, his actions slow and robotic. Even though his height and physical presence dominate their small kitchen, it’s as if some part of him is far away.
Grief has come too early to James. It shows its bleakness in his hunched shoulders. Jenny’s death is the death of their future together. It is the death of possibility – of their children, grandchildren, their hopes and dreams.
I feel stirrings of rage against the destructive force which has annihilated such beauty and potential. I feel the rage rising, perfectly in tune with the steam forcing its way from the kettle.
‘Go and look through Jen’s things if you’d like to,’ he says.
Unsure, feeling slightly as though I’m intruding, I climb the short flight of stairs to the small landing at the top. There, I stand at the window gazing out at the houses opposite, wondering if the neighbours have any clue about the miser y unleashed within these walls.
You’d never know, standing out there in the quiet and empty street, that the face at the window of number 77 is the mother of a dead child; or that the man downstairs washing mugs in the sink is the distraught lover of a young woman recently blown up by a terrorist bomb.
I want someone to put their arms around me and tell me everything’s going to be all right. I want my beautiful daughter not to be dead
From the outside, this dear home looks the same as any other in the terrace. It’s a facade. The heartache is politely hidden. No one need know. I have to turn away from the window before I start screaming.
The bedroom is full of Jenny. Tentatively, I touch a blue turquoise scarf. Even before I lift it to my face, I know it will smell of Jenny’s perfume. I inhale into its folds deeply as if the scarf is an oxygen mask, breathing in Jenny and the scent of J’adore and breathing out memories.
I suspect one of the last things Jenny did before leaving this room on her last morning was to squirt a jet of perfume on to each side of her neck before kissing James goodbye and setting off for work.
If only she’d decided to stay home for the day. If only she’d overslept, if only something had delayed her, if only I’d chosen that moment to call, if only she’d missed her train, if only she’d got to the end of the road and realised she’d left her purse behind. If only I could have kept her safe and if only a certain dark stranger whose name I will not utter in this room had never been born.
Back at Vanda’s house, I speak to my husband on the phone. When I say ‘I’m arranging for Jenny’s body to be brought back to Bristol,’ Greg appears unable to speak. He’s trying not to break down.
‘Do you think you might want to see her?’
‘No, I can’t, but I’d like to know she’s close to us.’
Now neither of us can speak, both fighting back tears and keeping the floodgates firmly sealed. I cannot bear my husband’s pain. In a matter of days, we’ve almost become strangers. In Greg’s grief, he cannot bear to look at pictures of Jenny; in my grief, I want to be surrounded by them.
Our relationship has been troubled for some time. In our hearts, we both know our marriage is over. But there’s no time, no emotional space to deal with more than our daughter’s death. The issues that are before us – marriage, relationship, separation – are for the future. Now is for Jenny.
I want to run and run and run, but there’s nowhere to go. I want someone to put their arms around me and tell me everything’s going to be all right. I want my beautiful daughter not to be dead. I want to tear my hair from my head and dig my nails into my flesh.
The next day, we’re visited by our family liaison officers, Pauline and Colin. They tell us the police are arranging to meet victims’ families at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London on Sunday for a current appraisal and briefing. After that, we can visit Edgware Road Tube station if we wish.
The briefing takes place 17 days after the bombings. We’re shown into a vast space packed with people sitting at round tables covered with starched white tablecloths. At the centre of each are flowers in a mix of soft summer colours. The room is arrayed like a wedding reception.
I can see a girl in a metal brace. Was she injured in the explosions, I wonder? I’m surprised that survivors may be here as well as families of those killed, and equally surprised at how disturbed I am by this.
I find I can listen to the people on the podium and take notes quite impassively, as I might at a business meeting. Detached, I note how many calls the Casualty Bureau took on the day of the bombings – 43,000 – and how calls were prime time and cost 40p per minute.
The time of each explosion is given. I add this information to the page even though the time of the Edgware Road bomb is etched on my mind: 08.50. It’s the demarcation time between life and death.
With the speaker’s voice fading in and out of my consciousness, I see Jenny looking up from her book, taking in the people around her and checking the time on her watch, a slight look of anxiety on her face as she realises she’ll be late for work. Then I see an image of a startled face with terrified eyes as Jenny is blown backwards out of the carriage, still clutching the book.
I’ve no idea if this is how it happened; in the absence of detail I add my own. I hope, as I hope every hour of every day, that there was no time for her to be terrified.
I still have so many questions — but now we’re being told we shouldn’t ask anything relating to our particular situation. Hackles are already starting to rise, mine included.
Some of the survivors have complaints.
It’s not helpful, bundling us all together in this way: I can’t bear this feeling of wanting to stand and scream that they should just be glad to be alive.
A man near the front is on his feet.
‘Please stop referring to this as an event or incident,’ he tells the people on the podium.
‘It is murder! Please call it that!’
This sparks collective applause and foot-stamping.
Now I’m on my feet, my black-sleeved arm in the air. As it happens, it is not so much a question, more an outpouring of feeling. ‘I have no doubt the intention of today was pure, and I can only speak for myself, but it feels like a PR exercise.
‘I never want to feel again as I have felt in these past few minutes, sorry that someone else is alive when Jenny is not’
You say this is not a day for specific questions; well, I only have specific questions,’ I say.
‘I am a mother whose daughter was killed in this “incident”, as you call it. Please do not speak in jargon and treat us like anything less than mature, adult human beings.’
In my embarrassment I hardly register a response, if indeed there is one. Lunch is announced. Then there’s a girl in front of us.
She’s falling against the table and words are spilling out in a rush; she’s saying over and over: ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry I’m here and your daughter is not’.
I don’t know who she is. The girl puts her head on my shoulder and I try to comfort her: an instinctive gesture. It seems she was in the same carriage as Jenny.
Even as I offer comfort, I want to cry out: ‘I’m sorry, too. Why must I hold someone else’s child when the only child I want to hold is my own?’ Even as I say ‘It’s all right; it’s all right,’ I know it’s not.
Nothing here is all right, not the tall angular limbs or the bony shoulder blades beneath my hands or the antiseptic smell of shampoo or the hair which is dark where it should be fair and short where it should be long.
There’s none of the soft warmth and ebullience so familiar in Jenny’s embrace, no daughter curves moulding into mine, no familiar smell that I have known for 24 years and clung on to in a rolled-up bundle of clothes for the past two weeks.
Repulsion is rising in my gut: why can’t someone come and take this girl away? Yet I can’t abandon her. So as she leans against me, her body trembling, I stroke this stranger’s back and feel the warmth of her body, and I think of my own daughter lying in a coffin without warmth and without her mother.
This makes me hold the girl closer, though my mind is far away from her. I’ve gone to Jenny, raised her from the coffin and drawn her to me. I’ve enfolded her in my arms, crooning as we rock backwards and forward: ‘It’s all right, it’s all right, it’s all right.’
My heart goes out to the survivor as I watch her walk slowly back across the room, shaking and head bowed. I didn’t even ask her name. I never want to feel again as I have felt in these past few minutes, sorry that someone else is alive when Jenny is not.
Colin drives us to Edgware Road, where we have to get out and walk because the Tube station is cordoned off. With determination, I prepare to move towards Jenny’s place of death, side-by-side with her beloved James.
We’re escorted to the platform by the station manager who was on duty on July 7. Down here, time and even air seems suspended. I’m not aware of feeling any emotion; no anger, no passion, no rising tears. I’m aware only of a grey stillness
that reaches right into my bones.
Where would Jenny have been standing? Would she have been waiting on the platform as the train pulled in or would she have come running down the steps and jumped into the nearest carriage?
By leaning forward, we can peer into the grey dustiness of the tunnel.
There isn’t much to see, only grime and cables and brick walls. Yet this place holds Jenny’s last breath, her final moments. I have a strong impulse to go inside the tunnel, as if by doing so I can somehow reach her — but it’s no surprise to learn the answer is ‘no’, because of health and safety.
Then, as I stand here, looking into the darkness, the shadowy face of a stranger intrudes. Did Mohammed Sidique Khan have a wife? Wouldn’t she have had at least some idea of what was being planned? Who is this stranger who came into our lives and didn’t care about those he was killing?
Jenny’s life, which was lived in beauty, has ended in cruel disregard and violation. I’m consumed with more anger than I believed I could ever feel.
Extracted from A Song For Jenny: A Mother’s Story Of Love And Loss by Julie Nicholson, to be published by HarperCollins on June 24 2011 at £14.99.
On the show today, Jason speaks Catherine Roberts about the subject of Dark Tourism – people who visits places or sites that have been the location for an event involving death or murder.
Also the featured artist is US country singer, songwriter and one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century Johnny Cash whose birthday is on 26th February. Kyra has the gig guide and latest music news.
In Music Matters we play interviews and music from the life of George Harrison who would have been 71 on 25th February. George was the guitarist and vocalist with The Beatles, the world’s most successful group. As a solo artist he had the 1970 worldwide No.1 single ‘My Sweet Lord’. He was also a member of the Traveling Wilburys with Tom Petty, Roy Orbison & Bob Dylan.
And we give the last word to Harold Ramis died at the age 69
Monday Matters with Jason McCrossan on 106.9SFM – broadcasting to Swale in Kent and to the world on www.sfmradio.com.