Campaigning mum launches knife petition
THE mother of a man who was stabbed to death is launching a petition demanding tougher sentences for knife crime.Ann Oakes-Odger hopes to collect 40,000 signatures to present to the Home Office calling for the law to be changed in the wake of her son Westley Odger's murder in Colchester.
By Annie Davidson
THE mother of a man who was stabbed to death is launching a petition demanding tougher sentences for knife crime.
Ann Oakes-Odger hopes to collect 40,000 signatures to present to the Home Office calling for the law to be changed in the wake of her son Westley Odger's murder in Colchester.
Mr Odger was 27 when he was stabbed in the neck and killed at a cash machine on the Greenstead estate in September 2005.
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He was killed by brothers Andrew and Mark Fredericks who stood trial at Chelmsford Crown Court earlier this year.
Andrew was sentenced to life, with a minimum jail term of 15 years, after being found guilty of murder and Mark was sentenced to seven years for manslaughter.
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They attacked Mr Odger after a “silly misunderstanding” as they queued to use the cash machine.
His grief-stricken mother now channels her energies into campaigning for tougher sentences for people carrying knives.
She was recently made the Colchester representative for Mother Against Murder and Aggression (MAMMA) and is training to give talks in schools to warn youngsters of the dangers.
Mrs Oakes-Odger, of Colchester, said other members of MAMMA were also collecting signatures and it was hoped the petition would be handed in by Christmas.
She said last night: “Knife crime is out of control really. We have got doctors saying it is virtually an epidemic situation. The Government has got to start giving tougher sentences.
“When it comes to somebody's life being taken and the one that caused it walking the streets a couple of years later, that is not good enough.”
Mrs Oakes-Odger said her campaign, which is supported by the East Anglian Daily Times, gave her a focus and helped her to deal with her grief over the loss of her son.
“It does help me as I know it is something Westley would have approved of and that makes it easier.
“I still find it difficult each day and it is not the normal process of things to lose someone you have had in your life as a child.
“It is difficult but the strength I have is that I have turned grief into power to carry on with what I am doing.”
Anyone who wishes to sign the petition or contact Mrs Oakes-Odger can email her at: mamaa.Colchester@princeoftides.co.uk