Grateful campaigner reveals why she joined South Shields anti-knife trust

Grateful Gemma Maughan joined South Shields anti-knife campaign group the Glen Corner Trust after her family were so impressed by its work in their own hour of need.

Tuesday, 30th January 2018, 5:52 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th January 2018, 6:00 pm
Glen Corner Trust members Gemma Maughan, far left, and Pat McDougall, centre, with, from left, South Shields Community School pupil Charlotte Collinson, associate headteacher Hojab Zaheer, and Sgt Steve Prested, of Northumbria Police, at a 2017 anti-knife talk.
Glen Corner Trust members Gemma Maughan, far left, and Pat McDougall, centre, with, from left, South Shields Community School pupil Charlotte Collinson, associate headteacher Hojab Zaheer, and Sgt Steve Prested, of Northumbria Police, at a 2017 anti-knife talk.

Gemma’s brother, David Charlton, 25, had the misfortune after a pre-Christmas night out to walk past two brothers as they laid in wait in a lane off Stanhope Road, South Shields, to rob a drug dealer.

Words were exchanged and Mr Charlton died after he was stabbed eight times in front of fiancee Kirsty Claughan on December 21, 2012.

In the aftermath of the murder, his family was put in touch with the trust.

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Founded after Glen Corner was stabbed to death on his 16th birthday in August 2006 in South Shields, it has since helped 22 families deal with the senseless deaths of young relatives in areas such as Washington, Sunderland and as far south as Liverpool.

Ms Maughan, 32, remembers how the trust and key member Pat McDougall, who is tragic Glen’s grandmother, offered support following her brother’s death.

She says: “They helped us with the funeral costs and Pat was just lovely.

“She was there to talk to and knew exactly what you were going through as her family had been through it themselves.

“Then there was money raised at David’s funeral. We paid some of the money we had received back to the trust and started to get involved from there.

“What happened was horrendous and I wanted to help somehow to turn something so negative into a positive.”

As well as raising funds to help other families experiencing similar tragedy, Mrs Maughan has joined Mrs McDougall in visiting local schools as part of a pilot project to educate pupils about the dangers of knives.

Activities include pupils taking part in role play to learn more about a murder and the effect it has on those involved.

Sergeant Steve Prested, of Northumbria Police, who has taken part in the project, has praised the families for their bravery.

He added: ““Knife crime is not an issue within South Tyneside, however, projects like these can only help to ensure this continues to be the case in the future.”

Then there is the support offered to bereaved families.

Ms Maughan, who lives on Tyneside, said: “There is just so much you experience that you are unprepared for. There is the police, the court case, the press wanting to speak to you, witness statements and then what people are saying on the street.

“It is a very long drawn out process and not something that just disappears when the court case is through. It is with you for life.”

Keith Honeyman, 20, of Alice Street, South Shields, admitted murdering Mr Charlton at Newcastle Crown Court and was jailed for life in 2013 with a 25-year tariff.

Half-brother Jordan Honeyman, 16, of Halstead Place, South Shields, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was locked up for six years.

Their cousin, Paul Carr, 31, of Hudson Street, South Shields, admitted assisting an offender and was jailed for 34 months.

The trust can be contacted via its Glen Corner Trust Facebook page.