Page last updated at 12:43 GMT, Wednesday, 14 November 2007

How does gun crime affect people's lives?

Gun crime in the UK seems to make headlines almost every day. But what is it like to be involved in gun crime?


Maureen Miller (centre) with a photo of her son
Maureen Miller (centre) with a photo of her son Michael

Dance music fan Michael Hanley was shot dead outside a nightclub in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire on 27 December 2005 after being threatened by a gang who wanted to steal his necklace.

His mother Maureen, said: "Michael was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. If he had not gone to that club, someone else would have been shot by them.

"They were in trouble (with the police) all the time, they dealt drugs and one of them had been shot before."


Jagdish Patel
Jagdish Patel fought off armed robbers who attacked his shop

Shopkeeper Jagdish Patel is what would be known in newspaper shorthand as a "have-a-go hero". He fought off two armed robbers who entered his shop in Rochdale, Greater Manchester in October 2005. One of them fired a shot at him at close range, but he was miraculously unhurt.

He said: "I have three daughters and the youngest one, Priya, who's four, is still quite shook up. She saw the CCTV footage when it was played back and she got quite upset.

"I have a sign asking people to take off their crash helmets but if they do come in with their helmet on, it still sends a chill up my spine. I'll never lose that experience."


Sabina Rizvi
Sabina Rizvi, who was killed in a row over a car

Music promoter Sabina Rizvi was gunned down in Bexleyheath, Kent, after getting dragged into row over a car which she had bought in good faith. She had just left a police station after giving a statement.

Her mother Iffat said: "When they said Sabina was dead, I said: 'What do you mean she's dead? She was in the police station last night.' I ran upstairs to my husband and my son and I said: 'What are they saying?' I couldn't believe it was true.

"This pain is never going to leave me. This pain is going to go on until the day I leave this world. I'm not the same person as I was when Sabina was alive. I am in pain all the time."


Mike Walsh, a consultant trauma surgeon at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel is in no doubt that gun crime is on the rise: "If you take penetrating injuries - that is stabbings and shootings - they have increased by 15% to 25% in the last five years."

Mike Walsh, head of the trauma team at the Royal London Hospital
Mike Walsh worries for his own teenage sons

He often has the unenviable task of breaking the news to relatives when a gun crime victim dies.

"It's just such a waste of life. They are usually young, fit men and it's just a tragic waste of life.

"To me it's a job you have to do and I just get on with it, but the bigger picture is what bothers me. I have teenage boys and there is the increasing risk of them getting stabbed or shot. What is it about society which is allowing it to happen?"


Pat Regan with a photo of her son Danny
Pat Regan says her son Danny had a premonition about his death

Danny Regan was a drug dealer who was gunned down at his home in St Helens, Merseyside, a few days before Christmas 2002.

His mother Pat said: "I dreamed about his murder the week before he died, and he knew there was something wrong but I didn't tell him about it."

She said his death had been very hard for his children: "Danny had a toy helicopter and when he died, I said I'd give it to Danny junior one day, and he said when he gets it he is going to fly up to the sky and bring his dad back from heaven."


Steve was shot in a street in east London after apparently being mistaken for someone else.

"When I was shot I just felt hot. Really hot. It was like if you burn yourself only much worse.

"There was not too much blood at the back, it was mainly the front where all the blood was. It was pouring out like a tap.

"I can remember the ambulance man just kept trying to talk me through it and then I can't remember anything after that at all."


Jason Greene
Jason Greene was killed on the morning school run

Jason Greene's killers shot him as he took his two young sons to school. His murder in Wembley, north London, in July last year was witnessed by dozens of children and parents.

His mother Gemma Brown said: "His killers chose a time when he was at his most helpless - his young children were with him.

"The fact that the children were in the car to witness their father's murder makes this event all the more horrendous.

"I cannot help but think that the people who did this need to possess a particular level of evilness. Did it occur to them, or did it matter that the children could have been hit by bullets?"


Paul is a 28-year-old from the West Midlands who is serving 18 years in prison for armed robberies, kidnap and firearms offences.

He said he did not enjoy being interviewed about his involvement in gun crime: "I feel sick. I don't like talking about it to be honest...

"Brings back memories you know, it wasn't the real me that's done them things, that was somebody who was basically a lunatic."

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