Parents of murdered teenager issue tribute and warning about the dangers of social media
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"I miss him with every single beat of my heart. My house doesn’t feel right, my family doesn’t feel right, my life doesn’t feel right."
One year after his death, the parents of murdered teenager Josh Hall have paid tribute to their ‘amazing’ son and issued a warning about the dangers of social media.
Josh died in the early hours of 17 April last year after he was stabbed several times in a sports ground in Dursley the previous afternoon.
In a hard-hitting video interview, Kirsty and Mike Hall recall the tragic events of that day, the impact on them as a family and the role social media played in the lead-up to Josh's murder.
Harley Dennom was found guilty of murdering Josh and was sentenced to a minimum of 14 years in prison. He was 15 years old at the time.
The teen had sent Josh multiple threatening messages in the days leading up to the attack at Cam Sports Ground, including on social media app Snapchat.
The pair had arranged to meet and ‘sort out their differences’, but Dennom was armed with a knife.
In the seven minute video, Kirsty described how "social media gave Harley access to Josh".
Mike added how he felt social media allowed the situation to develop quickly, which led to a point "where a young man felt that he had to take a knife and stab someone to prove that he was as violent as he was telling everybody that he was".
Kirsty said: "You go from a keyboard into a real-time situation very, very quickly and you could damage your life, someone else’s life – just think about what you’re doing.
"Think about the impact of your words, of your actions, on others. If you’re in a situation where you’ve gone so far, it’s never too late to stop, it’s really not.
“If Harley had that day had gone ‘I’m not taking my knife’, Josh would still be here."
She continued: "Josh was amazing – very cheeky, very funny, lots of charisma, you couldn’t be mad at him for long because he would just make you laugh… I miss him with every single beat of my heart. My house doesn’t feel right, my family doesn’t feel right, my life doesn’t feel right."
Kirsty and Mike hope by sharing their first-hand account of the murder of their child will help ensure other children do not end up being victims like Josh was.
Mike said: "Parents need to probably have a greater level of understanding of what these social media platforms are and how they operate. Snapchat in particular, seems to be the go to method that teenagers communicate."
Kirsty added: "Check in with your children, just check in with them and look for red flags, just look and act on them - would absolutely be my advice."
When asked how she wants Josh to be remembered, she said: "As Josh - as caring, funny, cheeky. He always had time for everybody, he’s got an amazing smile, and he was overall kind. And that’s how I want him remembered, as the kind person he that was and the impact that he had on his peers and on his friends."
You can also consider reporting the activity to the social networking site. They will have processes in place for such situations, and may be able to remove the content or even close down the person's account.