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Police urged: ‘Don’t give up on Ricky’

No update in four years for parents of man stabbed two decades ago

11 October, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

Sheila and Keith Smith with a photo of their son Ricky

THE parents of a young man who was stabbed to death more than two decades ago have urged the police to not give up on the unsolved case.

Sheila and Keith Smith, now both in their 70s, told the Tribune that not a day goes past when they don’t think about their son Ricky, who was knifed in the chest in a seemingly unprovoked attack in Highbury Park back in the 1990s.

But the couple say they feel like officers have lost interest in their quest for justice and over the past four years have not had any updates on the investigation.

Ricky, a father of two, was attacked as he walked home with his girlfriend on October 3, 1997.

When his parents arrived at the scene the paramedics were trying to keep Ricky alive and Mrs Smith was able to hold his hand in the ambulance.

But he died the following day, and nobody has yet faced a court over the attack.

Mr Smith, who lives in Liverpool Road, said: “I have tried to contact the police a few times but it is impossible to know what is going on in there. We don’t know if anyone is on the case. It’s bad. They don’t know what is going on.”

He added: “I don’t understand how they can’t seem to get to grips with it.

“We haven’t heard anything from them.”

The couple and the police have put out several appeals over the past 22 years in a bid to catch the killer.

Ricky Smith

Police believe the attacker fled the scene on foot up to Conewood Street, where officers found a blue baseball cap, a jacket with the wording “Chicago Bulls” and a five-inch lock knife with a £9.95 price sticker on it.

A Crimewatch appeal was made in 2012 after DNA linked the suspect to a violent stabbing in Harlesden earlier in the day when Juan Marais was stabbed in the chest and abdomen. Mr Marais survived.

The suspect in both attacks has been described as a tall black man aged between 18 and 30 years.

The family marked the anniversary of Ricky’s death last week. This Sunday, October 13, he would have celebrated his 47th birthday.

Mrs Smith said: “I think about him every day. It can just keep going around your head. Birthdays are the worst.”

She added: “When you hear that your son has been murdered it feels like everything has been ripped out of you.

“When I watch the news now and see that another young kid has been stabbed, I can’t take it and I turn it over. It’s too much.”

Ricky had been a skilled carpenter and his parents believe he would have gone on to great things in the industry.

Mr Smith, who was paralysed from his waist down after an accident at work, said: “I remember a time when these two big fellas couldn’t get me up a flight of stairs. Ricky then came along and grabbed it and did it all himself. He had incredible inner strength and he was so helpful,”

Mrs Smith added: “Because Rick was so strong, I feel him saying ‘don’t let me down, be strong’. So in my mind I know we’ll catch his killer one day. You can never give up.”

The Met Police did not respond to the Tribune’s request for comment.

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