Bereavement due to traumatic death

David - Interview 31

Age at interview: 55

Brief outline: In 1992, David's son, Simon, was stabbed to death near to his home. He was 17 years old. Simon's death had a huge effect on the family. David and his wife supported each other. They are now members of Support after Murder and Manslaughter (SAMM).

Background: David is a security guard. He is married and has 3 children (1 died). Ethnic background/nationality: White British.

Audio & video

In 1992, David’s son, Simon, was murdered by two young men, who were aged 15 and 16. David’s other son found Simon on waste ground behind the family home. He called David and then the ambulance and police. Simon probably died where he was stabbed. He was taken to hospital. That night the police interviewed David, his other son, and his wife. The next day David had to go and identify his son in the hospital mortuary. It was only then that David really understood that Simon was dead.
The family had to wait about two months before the Simon’s body was released, so meanwhile they had a service in the field where he died. This was attended by about 400 people. When Simon’s body was released they had a service at the crematorium, and then Simon was cremated. His ashes will probably be buried with another member of the family, either David or his wife, whoever dies first.
The police were very helpful and kept the family informed about what was happening. David wanted to know every detail about his son’s death, but his wife did not want to know too much. David sent off for the postmortem report and asked the GP to explain what it meant. He was off work for about three months, and found it hard to cope with other people’s reactions when he returned. He did not want other people to talk about the murder.
David managed to get some compensation for his son’s death. He also asked a solicitor to help him get some money from the government to help with the funeral costs.
At first David did not look for support. He and his wife supported each other. However, over the years he and his wife have found that Parents of Murdered Children, (now called Support after Murder and Manslaughter) has been helpful. They found it helped to read other people’s stories in the quarterly magazine. David sometimes looks at the internet site Gone Too Soon. It makes him feel that at least he is not alone in his loss.
The case was brought to a Crown court. The trial took place about a year after Simon’s death. David was not called to give evidence, but his other son had to give evidence, which was hard for him because he was only aged 16. The two young men were found guilty of murder and they were both given life sentences. One served ten years and the other served twelve years. They were then let out on parole. David thinks that they should have served many more years in prison.
David was interviewed in 2009.


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