345 knife crimes a year
Lancashire men Chris Williams, Dave Edwards and Dominic Horton are united by a tragic common denominator '“ they are all victims of knife crime.
They were not known to each other, were different ages, and came from very different backgrounds.
But the three of them now form part of a worrying statistic – Lancashire’s 345 tally of knife crimes last year.
It is equivalent to a knife crime in the county almost every day.
The tragedy of solicitor Dave Edwards, 51, struck a chord nationally when it emerged he was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of his new wife Sharon Edwards, 42.
She stabbed him fatally in the heart the day after returning from a holiday and is serving a 20 year life sentence for his murder.
The case is one of five knife murders in the county in 12 months.
And city centre worker Dominic Horton, 18, survived a life-threatening knife attack in a ginnel on a lunch break from work in December, but has been left with lifechanging injuries.
His 17-year-old attacker, Kingsley Cairns, from Sheffield Drive, Lea, Preston, is serving six and a half years in a young offender’s institution.
Eight months earlier, Chris Williams was brutally stabbed in the eye as he slept at a friend’s house.
His attacker James Halstead, 32, of Christian Road, Preston, was jailed for nine years with an extended three years licence
Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show 345 crimes committed in Lancashire last year involved a knife.
Five cases of attempted murder also involved a knife, with a further 113 involved in woundings.
Blades were used in 213 assaults – 110 of which resulted in an injury.
Knives were also a feature of five kidnappings and two cases of cruelty to children.
In 2015, 119 people were arrested for carrying a blade in public in Lancashire.
Lancashire Constabulary has joined forces with the ground-breaking national anti-knife crime campaign ‘Save a Life, Surrender Your Knife’, a national initiative to raise awareness of knife crime and encourage the surrender of dangerous weapons.
Knife bins at locations across Lancashire in an amnesty last year, including job centres, community centres and leisure centres yielded over 3,000 knives, and people can still hand in any knife at any police station with a front counter.
A Lancashire Police spokesperson said: “As these figures show, the consequences of carrying a knife can be potentially devastating to both victims and their families.
“A knife is a lethal weapon and just being in possession of one in a public place is a criminal offence, with the exception of small folding pocket knives.
“Some people think carrying a knife protects them but they could end up hurting someone or being hurt themselves.
“The maximum prison sentence for carrying a knife is four years, but if you use the knife in a crime or to injure someone the penalties are a lot worse.”
She added anyone with concerns about knife crime should call police on 101 or see their website.