Saving Lives After Lockdown: Remembering the heartbreaking stories of lives lost to knife crime in Leeds

These are the tragic stories of people in Leeds who have lost their lives to knife attacks over the last five years.

By Abbey Maclure
Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 12:58 pm

Some were the victims of years of horrific domestic abuse, others stabbed in revenge killings.

While their dreadful stories differ widely, they were all killed with the use of a blade or sharp weapon.

As the Yorkshire Evening Post’s Saving Lives After Lockdown campaign looks at preventing an upsurge in knife crime post-lockdown, we remember some of the recent victims of knife crime whose deaths have rocked Leeds.

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We remember the recent victims of knife crime in Leeds. Anti-clockwise from top left: Abida Karim, Jodi Miller, Keith Harrower, St John Lewis, Tcherno Ly, Poppy Devey Waterhouse, Irfan Wahid

The attacks have left behind grieving families and their stories are a stark reminder of the need for action to prevent further killings.

The Leeds Domestic Violence helpline is available 24 hours a day on 0113 246 0401.

Abida Karim

Abida Karim was killed by her husband at their home in Harehills after being subjected to horrific domestic abuse throughout their 21-year marriage.

The community of Harehills come together for a vigil for murdered teenager Irfan Wahid in 2017

Mrs Karim’s children have paid tribute to their ‘hero mum’, who was attacked with a hammer and a knife at her home.

Speaking on behalf of her family after her killer was sentenced, Mrs Karim’s eldest daughter said: “She will always be the biggest role model in our lives and she will always be remembered as a soft, gentle, generous, loving, caring mother, wife and woman in the community.”

Keith Harrower

Keith Harrower, 42, was murdered outside a shop in Beeston on December 12, 2019 in a ‘chilling’ revenge killing.

The YEP's Saving Lives After Lockdown campaign is highlighting the impact of knife crime on communities across Leeds (Photo: PA Wire/Katie Collins)

The father-of-five died from a single knife wound to the neck inflicted outside the Premier convenience store on Dewsbury Road.

Sentencing his killers in February, a judge said his death has had a devastating impact on Mr Harrower's five children and other family members who were already grieving over the recent death of a family member.

Tcherno Ly

Tcherno Ly, 21, was stabbed to death during Leeds West Indian Carnival celebrations in August 2019.

Mr Ly had been born in Guinea-Bissau and had spent some time living in Portugal before moving to England and settling in Leeds with his step-mum.

He was doing a business studies college course at the time of his death and was described by relatives as "a happy, helpful, and family-minded young man, who was loved by his family and friends."

In a statement issued after his killer was sentenced in December 2020, Mr Ly’s family said: “He came to the UK for a better life, but that young life was taken away in horrific circumstances”.

Jodi Miller

Jodi Miller, 21, was murdered by a man in a Leeds flat who stabbed her 15 times because she refused to have sex with him.

After her killer was sentenced in August 2019, Miss Miller's mum, Susan, described in a victim impact statement how her daughter's death had changed the lives of her family forever.

She said: "I have a permanent emptiness and a broken heart.

"My life is never going to be the same again all because of what he did to my beautiful daughter.

"There is no stronger love between a mother and her children and I struggle to comprehend I will never see her again.

"I don’t know how to grieve and nothing prepares you for this. I cry every day and I often become angry.”

St John Lewis

St John Lewis, 47, was stabbed through the heart in the street in Bramley by a man who was a close friend.

The attack on Mr Lewis - known to friends and family as Singe - took place in a residential street in February 2019.

His father spoke of his shock and sadness after his son's death.

Mr Lewis said: "He was a gentleman who was very keen to help people. He wouldn't hurt a fly.”

Poppy Devey Waterhouse

Poppy Devey Waterhouse, 24, was stabbed 46 times by her ex-boyfriend as she tried to leave him in December 2018.

She was killed in their shared flat in Saxton Flats, Richmond Hill - three days before she was due to move out.

Miss Waterhouse, originally from Frome, Somerset, was described by her family and friends as a gifted mathematician who was “bright and beautiful”.

Her mother has since backed a campaign to change the law over prison sentences.

Robert Milner

In March 2017, Robert Milner, 41, was killed by a man who was a friend in his own flat in Belle Isle.

He was stabbed repeatedly with a screwdriver during the sustained attack.

As his killer was sentenced, Mr Milner's family said they had been "torn apart" as a result of his death.

Mr Milner’s sister Laura Hodgkinson told the judge his family were “heartbroken” at losing him.

She said: “I will never be able to say goodbye to Robert or say I love him.”

Irfan Wahid

Irfan Wahid, 17, was stabbed to death in Harehills in 2017.

His death, which happened as Harehills Lane was busy with shoppers, parents collecting children from school and teenagers making their way home, rocked the community.

Irfan’s family and friends described the Carr Manor Community School pupil as popular, caring and loving towards his family.

He was a keen sportsman and was studying hard for his GCSE exams at the time of his death.

The judge who sentenced his teenage killer described Irfan’s death as a "classic and tragic example" of the dangers of young people carrying knives.

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