Clacton/Colchester: Mother’s pain over stolen collection box

Jay Whistons mother Caroline Shearer during an anti-knife parade in Colchester.

Jay Whistons mother Caroline Shearer during an anti-knife parade in Colchester. - Credit: Archant

A knife crime awareness campaigner has hit out at “heartless and spiteful” thief that stole a money box from a bank in Clacton.

A knife crime awareness campaigner has hit out at “heartless and spiteful” thief that stole a money box from a bank in Clacton.

Caroline Shearer spoke out after a “downright nasty” criminal took the box which had been collecting cash for the campaign set up in memory of her fatally stabbed son Jay Whiston.

Mrs Shearer, 47, was told that someone had taken the box from the NatWest branch in Clacton on Tuesday afternoon and that police are investigating the crime.

In the wake of her son’s fatal stabbing at a party in Colchester last September, Mrs Shearer established Only Cowards Carry, a weapons awareness and education campaign.

She has been visiting schools and helping to train young people to pass on the message to others that “knives and other weapons are not cool – they kill”.

She said: “It’s not about the money – how low do people have to go?

Most Read

“They must be half stupid anyway to do it in a bank. There are people quite devoid of any intelligence at all but this is what we stand for – teaching kids respect.

“We are going to change the minds of young people.”

She said that what hurt the most was that the theft had happened on her “doorstep” and there could be few in the town unaware of what had happened to Jay and the campaign launched in his memory.

She added: “Every penny we take is going into awareness and education. It’s not about me getting self-recognition.

“When I’m not working on this I go down. I just work, and I know Jay would have supported this.

“This was heartless and hurtful and downright nasty and spiteful, but I don’t think it was aimed at us and I don’t take it personally.”

A police spokesman said officers were reviewing CCTV footage in a bid to help track down the thief.

The spokesman said: “A charity collection box was reported stolen from a NatWest branch in Station Road, Clacton, at about 4.50pm on Tuesday.

“The collection box was for Only Cowards Carry, which aims to deter people from carrying weapons.

“Police are reviewing CCTV from the area and are appealing for information about the theft. Anyone who can help should contact police in Clacton on 101.”

Jay Whiston, 17, was stabbed at a house party on Marlowe Way, Colchester, shortly after 10pm on Saturday, September 8 last year.

He died a short time later in hospital. A provisional post-mortem examination revealed the cause of death to have been from a stab wound.

One person – a 17-year-old boy from Colchester – has been charged with his murder and is in custody pending an appearance at Chelmsford Crown Court next month.

Three Colchester teenagers, two aged 19 and one aged 18, who were also arrested on suspicion of murder during the investigation are on police bail until Thursday, July 25 pending further enquiries.

In mid-November 2012, three people were arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender. The trio – a 51-year-old man, a 42-year-old woman and a 19-year-old man – are now on police bail also until Thursday, July 25, pending further enquiries.

In May, four people were arrested on suspicion of witness intimidation. Two 18-year-old men from Colchester, and two people from Clacton, a 16-year-old girl and an 18-year-old woman, are on police bail, pending further enquiries.