“It’s not nice, having to live with the feeling that I’ve taken a life. Especially when you’re in your cell, thinking about things, they come to haunt you….”
These are the chilling words of a schoolboy murderer who is sharing his own life-changing experience with young people to warn about the devastating impact of knife crime.
Convicted killer Sadam Essakhil has spoken directly from prison about the life-ruining consequences of carrying a weapon as part of a groundbreaking video from West Midlands Police.
Sadam was aged just 15 when he and a friend murdered a 24-year-old man and seriously injured another, with a knife taken from his kitchen drawer in Handsworth, Birmingham, in May 2015. He was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 19 years in prison.
WMP has filmed the hard-hitting video with Sadam while he’s behind bars – believed to be a first for UK police forces – in a fresh drive to improve engagement with young people and change the culture of thinking it’s acceptable to carry a knife.
In a candid and thought-provoking interview Sadam, still now just 20-years-old, talks about issues many young people face including getting involved with the ‘wrong crowd’, prioritising friends over family, feeling the need to carry a weapon for protection, what happened on that tragic evening and how knife crime devastates everyone’s lives.
The force has not taken the decision to produce the video, which discusses life-defining actions and will be shown to school children across the region, lightly. It has liaised with partners and wants to show the very real consequences of being armed with a weapon.
Speaking after the filming, Sadam said: “The reason I carried a knife that evening was for my own protection. There was no intention on that day to go out and hurt anyone. The victim wasn’t known to me and I sincerely regret what I did on that evening and always think about the victim and his family as they will never get to see him again.”
Detective Chief Inspector Jim Munro, from the force’s homicide team, said: “We see the tragic effects of knife crime far too often; the devastation that it causes so many people is truly heart-breaking.
“While officers work hard with young people, we understand some do not want to listen to what we have to say. Sadam’s message is powerful and I hope will provide some emotive thoughts and conversations amongst young people.
“We’re committed to reducing violent crime across our region and we’ve worked closely with the prison service, who we’re extremely grateful to for allowing us to interview Sadam and share his experiences in the hope that we can change behaviours and stop people carrying weapons.
“Lukasz Furmanek, aged 24, lost his life in May 2015, during a reckless act that lasted around 30 seconds. His mother is still struggling to come to terms with her loss, but is fully supportive of the campaign and said: “If I was to influence someone with my words, I would like them to think 10 times before they cause hurt to themselves and to other people.
“We must do more to prevent further victims and I hope this video, which will be delivered to all secondary schools in the West Midlands, helps to do that.”
Officers around the region will also be carrying out activities aimed at tackling the scourge of knives as part of the Operation Sceptre week of action which starts today (Monday).
Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, said: “Too many young lives are lost from knife crime. It blights our communities. As well as robust policing we have to show the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife to young people.
“Carrying a knife has very real consequences for everyone involved. Two sets of families have lost sons, who won’t be fulfilling their potential.
“We have a responsibility to do more to divert young people away from crime and give them the opportunities they deserve.
“That is why I am investing in activities, mentoring and work opportunities to support for young people.
“Engagement like this from West Midlands Police is a key part of our strategy to tackle knife crime.”