AddThis SmartLayers

Murder victim's body shown in front page splash

A south London weekly newspaper has taken the potentially controversial decision to publish a photo of a murdered teenager at his funeral on its front page.

Oliver Kingonzila was stabbed to death outside a Croydon bar last September and his mother Caroline took the decision to leave his casket open at his funeral to show his friends the consequences of carrying a knife.

The Croydon Guardian’s front page this week shows Oliver’s face with visible stab wounds on his cheeks under the headline ‘Grim truth of Knife Violence’.

It was also shown as part of a BBC documentary last week after a film crew attended the service in October.

Assistant editor Matthew Knowles said: “We thought long and hard about it because it’s a quite a shocking image and we’re coming through people’s homes unsolicited.

“We had to take into account the reaction that would come from this.

“We felt that, if it helped to stop one kid going out there with a knife, then it’s been a worthwhile thing to do.

“It is shocking but hopefully it will get the message across that this is the reality.”

The Guardian has been looking back at Croydon’s knife crime culture which regularly makes the national news headlines.

Only last Thursday night there was another fatal stabbing of a 26-year-old man on his way to see his new-born baby in hospital.

The Newsquest weekly has a special Knife Crime section on its website with stories and features about the victims, the police and other community groups trying to tackle the problem.

Matthew added: “We’ve had a long-running look at knife crime over the past six months and done lots of stuff looking at every aspect from gang members to victims, police and social workers.

“We went out with the specialist police unit that deals with gang crime.

“We did one splash called ‘Tales from the Street’ with stories from people who live with this everyday.

“You always hear the big stories but not necessarily the smaller ones which some might consider less newsworthy.”