I am very fortunate to have some truly supportive people around me. In recent years I have had to rely on these people, as me and my family have had to face the most traumatic event of our lives – the murder of my brother.
On 25 January 2014, my little brother Isaac Stone was attacked on Costin Street, Midland Road, Bedford. He was 19.
Isaac was a happy go lucky person, he always had an infectious smile on his face – a very big one at that, which everyone would comment on! He was handsome, kind hearted and very nurturing. He had time for everyone, and would always be willing to help someone else.
Isaac would share anything he had. If he had two of something he would happily give you one, and if he only had one he would still give you half. His kindness was never ending.
Academically he excelled and was accepted into one of the top private schools in England. He loved football and played regularly in his younger years, but as he got older he developed a passion for rapping. Due to his literacy skills he naturally articulated his words.
He would speak honestly about many subjects and a lot of people could relate to his songs. Isaac would speak about what he and his peers were facing and how they felt in the communities they were living in. Some music he produced was very conscious, and some was made just for entertainment.
It was a song which was made for entertainment which ultimately led to his death.
It was Saturday 25 January and Isaac had released his first professionally filmed music video, ‘Go Missing’, on YouTube. I was at work and he called me to ask if I had seen it. The video was great and the song was very catchy; he was laughing, smiling and having a drink with his friends. He looked so happy.
It wasn’t quite what I was expecting because he liked cars, so I expected it to be full of fast cars and ladies – instead he was on Midland Road with all of his boys. I was also expecting something more lyrically conscious, as he had proved to be good at that.
I watched it and was very proud of him. I knew local young people would like it and this proved to be true just by the sheer number of views, likes, shares and comments all over social media.
I told Isaac I was proud of him and that he had done well. He was so happy, saying: “Chen, this year I’m gonna concentrate on my music and I’m gonna blow.”
I told him he could succeed at anything he wanted to, and politely reminded him of the CV I had made him, telling him he had to get a job in the meantime. We both laughed that I was always the voice of reason. Isaac said he was going to come and see me at work, we said ‘I love you’ and ended the call.
Later on when he had not arrived, I called him but I got no answer. I wasn’t worried because I just assumed he was busy or had the music on in his car, rapping along as usual.
At about 6pm Isaac’s girlfriend called and said she had been told Isaac had been stabbed. At the time we didn’t realise how serious it was, and we said how angry he was going to be. I called Isaac’s phone expecting him to answer refusing to get medical treatment, and me having to meet him and take him whether he liked it or not. But he didn’t answer.
I called his girlfriend back and she had more information. She said it was on Midland Road and it was serious.
My brother Tyrone went to Midland Road where he found out that Isaac had left in an ambulance. He was in a bad way, but alive. I knew it was bad from Tyrone’s tone on the phone, and he said lots of people had gathered there including the police.
The drive to the hospital felt like a lifetime – I just kept thinking how upset and angry Isaac was going to be… at no point did death cross my mind! When I arrived it seemed very busy outside, but my only concern was to get to Isaac.
The first person I saw was my mum. We said nothing, we just both walked towards A&E.
We were faced with a line of police officers and when we said who we were they parted, bowed their heads and let us through. Even then, the thought of death didn’t cross my mind.
When we were escorted into a side room I began to think that maybe he’d been badly hurt. A member of staff kept telling us that a doctor would be with us shortly, and I remember feeling sick; she was making me anxious and I began to think maybe Isaac was in intensive care or being operated on.
Still death didn’t cross my mind – I kept thinking how strong Isaac was, and besides, that’s the kind of stuff you see on TV. He would be fine, he was a survivor!
The doctor came in, and I can’t remember his exact words but he said something along the lines of: “Look, I’m not going to beat around the bush, I tried to save Isaac but he’s died.”
I remember everyone screaming, but it was unlike a scream I’d ever heard before. Later the people who’d gathered outside said that was how they knew Isaac had died.
I was in disbelief. I told the doctor he must be wrong and it must be mistaken identity. I asked him twice to check it was Isaac against a picture I had. Looking back I know the doctor was sure, but both times he kindly he obliged and said “yes, that’s him, I’m sorry”.
I remember feeling suffocated so I went outside. When I got out, the area outside A&E was lined with people and they all had their heads down as I came out. I remember people speaking to me but to this day I have no idea what they said, I just remember crying uncontrollably.
When I went back inside, the room was so full of people that I couldn’t even get to my mum, but when I did we had no words, just tears. We held hands.
I remember becoming very hot and feeling overwhelmed as if I couldn’t breathe. The next thing I knew there was a doctor asking if I wanted to take some tablets to help me calm down. Looking back, I think I had a panic attack.
I asked when we could see Isaac. The doctor said we couldn’t see him due to the need to retain evidence – effectively Isaac’s body was now a crime scene and they could not risk contamination or loss of evidence due to us entering the room or touching him.
I was adamant I would not leave until I saw Isaac.
In the end they agreed to let me stay while they brought him past on the way to the morgue, but only if I didn’t touch him. As they wheeled him past I knew it was real and there was no going back. Isaac was dead and it was time to go home – but what was I supposed to do? What happened next?
The days that followed were a blur. I kept expecting him to walk through the door and tell me it was all a big mistake, and to this day I still do.
We were finally allowed to go to the morgue and see Isaac on 28 January.
I went into the room and he looked so peaceful, like he was asleep. We were only allowed to see from his neck up due to the trauma his body had been through.
I gave him the biggest hug and in that moment I expected him to wake up but he didn’t! He lay lifeless, and as I began to stroke his face I noticed the cuts to the back of his neck. I looked at my mum; she knew what I had seen and she grabbed my hand to keep me calm. I cried, she cried, my brother cried. We knew this was our reality.
They could only keep Isaac’s body out in the air for a certain amount of time so we had to leave, but we left pictures and clothes sprayed in his aftershave, so he had things from home with him.
I could see that my family was broken, but didn’t know how to make it better. We all looked after one another but the fact was there was a massive part of the jigsaw missing, and that was Isaac. The thought that he was alone in the cold, dark morgue was crushing.
Although I am very proud of Isaac’s achievements and am happy he got to make a music video before he died, I don’t like to watch it. To me, it sealed my brother’s fate and took away his future.
In the video Isaac and his friends had been in the Costin Street area, where his murderers lived, and they had been spraying alcohol and spitting on their names, which were graffitied on a wall.
They tracked Isaac down, and although he tried to escape he had no chance. They set upon him by cornering him, and stabbed him all over his body with such brutality and force that he was covered in stab wounds.
They were eventually stopped by a passer-by, but it was too late. Isaac’s lung was punctured and he did not even make it to the hospital.
Isaac died alone in the back of an ambulance at 6.20pm on Saturday 25 January 2014. That was the day he lost his life, and the day our life sentence began.
Five years ago, Isaac Stone was killed in Bedford. He was stabbed. His sister, Channitta, has been working hard ever since to raise awareness of knife crime, and encourage young people not to carry weapons, and this week she’s telling her story on our blog.