KNIFE crime has risen notably over the past year, Warwickshire Police have revealed.
The rise of 15 per cent — from 206 offences in 2016 to 237 in 2017 — was made public by senior officers as they welcomed the long jail term given to the man who fatally stabbed a young tree surgeon.
They have also issued a warning about the dangers of carrying a knife in public, and urged those who do so to think again.
Harry Stone was jailed for life with a minimum of 18 years at Warwick Crown Court last Thursday after pleading guilty to the murder of Warwick man Scott Bosley on Boxing Day last year.
The two had never previously met before Mr Bosley tried to stop Stone smashing up his own dad’s mobility scooter outside the Woodloes Tavern.
That led to a fight between the two, and when they came face-to-face again later the same evening, Stone stabbed Mr Bosley with an 18cm-long knife.
Stone has never given a reason for the fatal attack, but the court heard that he had been in a verbal argument with his estranged dad, Nicholas, during the evening.
The court was also told that it was the first time Stone and his dad had been together since he had moved to Canada with his mum as a child, and that the 21-year-old carpenter had a history of mental illness, and had been diagnosed as suffering from depression and bipolar, for which he was prescribed medication.
Although he had not been taking it during what was supposed to be a brief return to the UK.
Stone and his mum were in the country after learning that his dad was seriously ill in hospital, although he had made a swift recovery and was discharged.
Chief Superintendent Alex Franklin-Smith said: “As is the case with anyone who illegally carries a knife in public, Stone made a conscious decision to do so, and the most tragic outcome followed.
“Scott’s family and friends will live with the consequences of Stone’s actions for the rest of their lives and my thoughts are with them at this very difficult time.
“Being caught in possession of a knife can have a huge affect on your life; you will get a criminal record and this will impact on your future job prospects, chances of going to university and freedom to travel to some countries, including the United States. You could also face several years in prison.
“I’d urge anyone who is considering carrying a knife to think twice. If you’re not carrying it you can’t use it and you won’t do something you are likely to regret for the rest of your life.”
Detective Sergeant Sean Tonelli added: “This wasn’t a heat of the moment incident. Stone made a deliberate and premeditated decision to go and get a knife.
“In the time it took him to collect the knife and return he could have changed his mind and come to his senses; Scott would still have been alive and Stone wouldn’t be facing a minimum of 18 years in prison.
“This tragic incident is a consequence of Stone carrying a knife. Stone’s decision that night ended in the most terrible circumstances and the impact will be felt by Scott’s family and friends for the rest of their lives.
“Hopefully, this incident will make others think twice about carrying a knife and prevent a similar tragedy.”
There was a similar call from the judge who sentenced Stone. Andrew Lockhart, QC, said: “If ever there was a siren call from a family to rid society of the use of knives in terrible crimes like this, then it sounds out loud and clear in this case.”
Warwickshire Police supported last year’s national Operation Sceptre knife surrender campaign, with 600 knives handed in, including 20 at Stratford-upon-Avon Police Station, and will do so again in September.
This will give people the chance to anonymously surrender their weapons at police stations in the county.