A GRIEVING mum whose only son was knifed to death in a sick gang attack is set to meet one of his killers – to give him a hug.
In an extraordinary act of forgiveness, Roseann Taylor wants to come face-to-face with the thugs who murdered her teen son Azaan John Kaleem, known to pals as AJ.
18-year-old AJ died in his mum’s arms after beings set upon by thugs and stabbed 22 times[/caption]
The 18-year-old had been walking through Luton, Beds, with his girlfriend when he made the “mistake” of exchanging looks with a yob on the other side of the street.
‘IT WAS MAYHEM’
Shocking footage shows Azaan being stabbed repeatedly through his padded jacket in March last year.
Roseann was called to the scene on Hartsfield Road after her son had collapsed into the arms of girlfriend Shannon and another friend, who were with him at the time.
She said: “It was mayhem. There was police everywhere, there was a helicopter flying and I could just see people around him.
“The helicopter paramedics came down and they just kept working on him and working on him.
“I didn’t know if it was serious, not serious, nobody would tell me anything.”
Four men were convicted over the killing in December last year – with one taunting Ms Taylor in court after being jailed for life, telling AJ’s devastated mum: “At least my mum gets to see me.”
But the 47-year-old mum is now set to meet the first of the killers after revealing she has forgiven them.
I took away the crime and looked at the personRoseann Taylor
Ms Taylor said: “I forgive the boys that killed my son.
“I took away the crime and looked at the person. They made a mistake and have to serve at years in jail for that.
“But I don’t look at them and think that they are monsters. I look at them and think ‘what went wrong?’
“Why did your life evolve like that?’
“I’m a firm believer in what you put out, you get back in kind. If I was to get angry at those boys it would be like taking a little bottle of poison and having a sip.
“Slowly I’d die from the inside out and for them it doesn’t matter.
“This is for me, to keep my sanity.
“Forgiveness is not for the actions of others, it’s for oneself.”
‘T’S EITHER THIS OR GO INSANE’
Luton teenagers Rashaan Ellis, 19, and Callum Smith, 20, were handed life sentences after being convicted of murder.
Harrison Searle, 19, was given life with a minimum of 16 years in jail.
Reece Bliss-McGrath, 21, who was found guilty of manslaughter, was sentenced to 11 years.
Ms Taylor, who is meeting one of the crooks under a restorative justice scheme, even wants to tour schools with the lag to warn children about knife crime “side-by-side.”
Ms Taylor said: “I’m going to visit one of them – I don’t want to say who, just in case he pulls out.
“But he has agreed to do a video clip that I can take into schools while he is in prison.
“I know that it will be emotional, I know that I will probably want to hug him.
“It’s either this or I would go insane. What use is it if I stay angry and become a big ball of resentment who can’t get out of bed. It’s not going to bring him back.
“The blame is on society as a whole. It’s not these boys, it’s not their parents.”
I had nightmares of people killing AzaanRoseann Taylor
Azaan, who himself carried a blade after previously being attacked, collapsed into the arms of his girlfriend Shannon and another friend, who were with him at the time.
He was stabbed in his heart and back and underwent 30 blood transfusions in hospital such were the extent of his injuries.
Despite surgery, his life-support was switched off after medics declared him brain-dead.
Describing the agony of coping with her son’s death, Ms Taylor said: “I couldn’t sleep at night. I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress and had nightmares of people killing Azaan.
“I would wake up and run through the flat as if I was looking for someone. I realised I was looking for my son and that he’s gone.”
Ms Taylor was speaking to schoolchildren in Northampton, Northants, to warn them to steer clear of knife crime.
The Community Initiative To Reduce Violence (CIRV) summit was told how knife offences have risen 78% in the county in the past five years.
Ms Taylor said: “It’s happening up and down the country, children are arming themselves because they are in fear.
“It’s not the kids that are involved in gangs or violent culture, it’s normal every day kids that are carrying knives.
“For some of them it’s a status symbol, it’s a cultural thing now.
“They are born into this – it goes right back to it takes a village to raise a child.”