Brave Preston knife attack teen is helping murdered man's brother address youngsters and organisations about the devastation of knife crime (WARNING: upsetting image)

Two young people whose lives were devastated by knife crime have joined forces to urge youngsters not to carry blades.

Saturday, 8th August 2020, 7:00 am

Brave teenager Eve Hewitson-Cross, who was stabbed in a park by her former friend, is campaigning alongside Byron Highton, the brother of Jon-jo Highton, who was stabbed to death in the city six years ago,

Eve was just 17 when she was knifed twice in her back by a jealous 16-year-old in Levensgarth Park in Fulwood, while waiting to meet her friends to go to a youth group.

Her attacker, who was two days into a withdrawal from ketamine and ecstasy, was unhappy at Eve's perceived friendship with a boy and went to the park armed with a large kitchen knife in her waistband.

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The duo will address CPS, police, schools and children's homes

Eve suffered a punctured lung as the blade penetrated millimetres from her spine and had to be helped by passers by as she bled profusely.She spent three days in hospital, where medics found she had suffered two wounds, measuring 3cm and 4cm.

Despite being left suffering PTSD, Eve is highlighting her ordeal in a series of talks in a bid to prevent other attacks among young people and talk to different organisations that play a role in the criminal justice system.

She explains: "After the case I found I was always talking about my experience anyway - at least now it's for a good cause rather than people being nosy!

"I talk about how earlier that day I was at Chester Zoo, and it had started as a normal day that was really good, then I move on to the attack, being in the ambulance and how it felt getting stitches.

Eve suffered two horrific knife wounds in a Preston park

" I also talk about being in hospital and coming to terms with the fact my mate had done this, and living with PTSD since then.

"I want to turn what's happened to me into something positive. I don't want to give her the satisfaction of getting any attention, I don't want it to become about her."

A delay in charging Eve's attacker, coupled with the defendant's age, her previous good character, the current Covid-19 crisis and her vulnerability due to a traumatic life event five months before the stabbing meant she avoided a custodial term.

Instead, she was given a two year rehabilitation order, a 10 year restraining order, and will spend three months on a tag.

Byron and Eve are hoping to tackle knife crime by sharing their experiences

The girl is being monitored by the YOT, is subject to police surveillance and 25 hours supervision per week, and must complete a knife crime programme.

Byron Highton, 30, started travelling the North West doing harrowing talks about the impact on his family in the aftermath of the brutal murder of his younger brother in a Preston street.

Jon-jo, 18, was set upon by a gang who attacked him with a samurai sword, axes and knives to inflict fatal wounds in St Stephen's Road in August 2014.

Six men were convicted of the murder in 2015, and three others of assisting an offender.

Since then Byron has launched his own organisation, The JJ Effect Ltd, which talks to agencies like the CPS, police, children's home and NHS about the devastating impact of carrying blades.

While his talk was designed to engage with boys and young men, it is hoped Eve, now 19, will reach out to girls and young women.

Byron said: "It all grew from a talk I created, it's a story that we tell.

"The worst part isn't just the offence, it's the aftermath. Once Jon-jo stopped breathing his pain ended but ours started and will last a lifetime.

"When lockdown happened I decided to take a leap of faith and found The JJ Effect. Everything I've done has been about Jonjo.

"Many people who've seen it say it's one of the most powerful knife talks in the UK. That gave me momentum.

"Lancashire Police and Greater Manchester police have been very welcoming.

" I met Eve through her mum, who I know as we live in the same area, and now she does the talk with me, because I think a lot of people have the idea that knife crime doesn't affect women. She appeals to a female audience that sadly I don't.

"She hammers her bit home that little bit more. We know what works and it's extremely powerful, and pretty much every time we do the talk we make people cry.

"We try to take people as close to death as possible to illustrate the impact."

So far the duo has done nine talks online for the CPS, and are hoping to work with children's homes while schools are closed.