A grieving mother who watched her stabbed son’s last moments is setting up a helpline and support network for families of murder victims.
Jennifer Beckford lost son Nicholas six years ago – but was kept from holding him by police trying to preserve the evidence.
Now Jennifer, of the Henry Prince Estate in Earlsfield, is creating an appeal to ensure other parents, siblings and children can be consoled when they are hit by similar traumas.
She will host an event on the estate today to raise awareness of the charity she set up in his name, The Nicholas Stewart Project.
Nicholas, was brutally stabbed eight times in 2014 when he went to play football on the pitch on the estate where he lived with her.
The mother-of-four and author wants to help stop the senseless killing of young people.
She said: “I set up the project calling to stop our children dying pointlessly on our streets.
“We need to know what is troubling our youth to help them.”
The What’s Bothering You? helpline would give them an outlet – somewhere they can turn to when their back is up against the wall.
Nicholas Bedford and mum Jennifer
The project will also provide respite to bereaved families, so they can get away to a refuge or hotel where they can come to terms with their grief.
Jennifer found this was the thing she needed most – but couldn’t because she did not have the means to do so.
The Nicholas Stewart Project will also provide expert counselling for grieving families.
Jennifer said: “I felt that for someone with limited resources like myself, I had nobody to turn to.
“It was hard. We want to support families who are in the situation I was in after Nicholas’ passing.”
Jennifer is hoping to raise more than £50,000 for the helpline and travel and hotels for the bereaved families, plus mental health experts who will work with them.
The Nicholas Stewart Project also aims to set up youth clubs for young people to congregate, play sport and provide them with an outlet to change their mindset.
Jennifer, whose two books are The Trumpet Sounds – Calls to Restoration and Pearly Notes of Wisdom: My Unique Notebook, already runs writing competitions with Earlsfield schools because she found writing therapeutic to cope with her own grief.
Jennifer was praised at the Old Bailey after she said she had forgiveness for Simeon Scott-Wasey, who was jailed for 28 years in 2015 for the murder of Nicholas.
Scott-Wasey, who had a long criminal record, mostly for robbery, and had undergone years of treatment for mental illness, had stopped taking medication for schizophrenia three months before the killing.
The jury rejected his defence that he was guilty only of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and convicted him of murder.
Photo: Nicholas Bedford and mum