MAKING Burton ‘a knife-free zone’ would be the best tribute the town could pay murder victim Connor Upton, the town’s MP has said.
Burton backbencher Andrew Griffiths spoke after George Lawrence was convicted of the killing by a jury at Stafford Crown Court following a seven-day trial.
The 46-year-old warehouseman from Harper Avenue, Horninglow, was handed a life jail term which will see him spend a minimum of 21 years and 94 days behind bars before he is considered for parole.
Mr Upton’s mother, Yvonne, has said she was pleased the jury had reached ‘the right verdict’ but could never forgive her son’s slayer for the pain and misery his crime had caused.
“I met with Connor Upton’s mum and discussed with her the devastating consequences of what happened to her son,” Mr Griffiths said yesterday.
“I don’t ever want to see another mother in Burton have to deal with what Mrs Upton went through.
“The simple way for us to do that is for us all to work together with police, bar workers and the community to send out a simple message: we won’t tolerate knives in Burton.
“We’ve got to redouble our efforts in making Burton a knife-free zone.”
Last month, the Mail reported that Mr Griffiths had thrown his weight behind plans to beef up a system of sanctions which would see bans of between one and two years handed to anyone
found trying to take a knife or blade into a Burton town centre pub or club.
He has since attempted to demonstrate his commitment to the anti-knife crime cause by backing Operation Centurion, an initiative designed partly to tackle the number of knives and other offensive weapons being taken into pubs and nightclubs.
The Tory MP accompanied police during the latest Centurion initiative last weekend, saying it was ‘timely’ given its coincidence with the Lawrence murder trial.
“The frustration and the worry is that very few people carry a knife because they intend to use it,” he said yesterday.
“They often carry one thinking it offers them safety and security —but it only takes one split second and one moment of bad judgement to end a life and ruin others in the process.”
Mr Griffiths has previously said that people must realise they are carrying ‘a potential murder weapon’ whenever they take a knife out with them.
Figures released to theMail in September 2009 under the Freedom of Information Act showedmore than 20,000 people in five years had been admitted to Burton’s Queen’s Hospital with knife wounds.
Eighty-four were considered stabbings.