BY EUAN O’BYRNE MULLIGAN
The parents of a teenager who was murdered 10 years ago led a series of lectures on violent crime at London South East Colleges.
Margaret and Barry Mizen’s son, Jimmy, was murdered in Lee, Lewisham, on May 10, 2008, just one day after his 16th birthday.
The parents spoke in support of LSEC’s Stay Safe campaign at its campuses in Bromley, Greenwich and Orpington, before finishing in Bexley on Thursday.
The pair talked in detail about the events which led to the murder of their son, advising students on ways they can avoid being drawn into similar situations.
Mrs Mizen said: “Nothing in this world can prepare you for the loss of your child in this way. It is something that I wouldn’t wish on anybody. This year has seen many more parents, just like us, who have had to face the same shocking reality that their son or daughter will not be coming home today – or indeed, ever again.”
Mr Mizen said: “We are what you would call an ordinary family. Before this happened, we would watch and listen to the news each day and hear of these things happening to other people and think that this is just something that happens to them, not us.
“Then, the unthinkable happened. It’s hard to describe how you feel at the time; hundreds of things go through your mind before returning to the same place and you ask yourself the same questions over and over again – why us, and why Jimmy?”
Jimmy was inside a bakery in Burnt Ash Hill with his brother Harry when they were attacked by Jake Fahri, then 19.
The altercation resulted in a glass dish being thrown at Jimmy that severed a vital blood vessel in his neck. He died of his injuries later that day.
Fahri was convicted of murder and given a life sentence with a minimum tariff of 14 years.
So far, he has spent 10 years of his life in prison and will not be eligible for release for a further four years.
In the same year, the Mizen family set up the Jimmy Mizen Foundation, later renamed For Jimmy.
The charity works with schools and colleges to help prevent similar things happening to young people across the UK and abroad.
LSEC student Doris Sokoli, 18, from Surrey Quays, said: “I think today has changed my perception about how common and real knife, gun and gang crime is.
“I found the presentation by Mr and Mrs Mizen very emotional at times and I am full of respect and admiration for both.
“The work they do is so valuable and important.”
Mr and Mrs Mizen share Jimmy’s story, helping young people become aware of how seemingly trivial situations can quickly become volatile, resulting in violence.
They warn of the dangers of being drawn into confrontations and give advice on how to avoid them.
They also tell young people how to get help if they are feeling threatened and suggest ways they can make their communities safer.
LSEC student Kane Gooljary, 17, from Greenwich, said: “Today has been very educational for me.
“As a young person living in South London, I see all the bad headlines and wonder what I would do if I found myself in a situation like many others have recently.
“I think I’ve learnt a lot about staying safe and helping to keep others safe too.”
For more information on For Jimmy or to donate to the charity go to www.forjimmy.org.