Family of Sunderland man murdered by mob win appeal for compensation

The Northern Echo: Victim: Kevin Johnson Victim: Kevin Johnson

THE family of a father-of-one who was murdered as he confronted a mob outside his home won an appeal for compensation today.

Kevin Johnson's family have finally been awarded £5,500 - half of what they could have won - after being turned down on two previous occasions by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) because he confronted the yobs.

Demolition worker Mr Johnson, 22, was murdered by three youths in Pennywell, Sunderland, in 2007.

He died of a single stab wound to the chest after he confronted the mob that were keeping his baby son awake.

Today, his mother and father, John and Kathleen, took their fight for compensation to an independent tribunal.

The hearing was held in private and the family was supported in their compensation bid by Northumbria Police.

''He left the safety of his house, so what they are more or less saying is let the scum rule the streets and don't go out to them and don't stand up to them. You've got to call the police.

Kevin Johnson's father, John

After an hour-long hearing the panel of three ruled that the Johnson family was entitled to compensation and awarded them a 50 per cent payout - meaning they have been awarded £5,500.

Speaking after the hearing, John Johnson, a self-employed taxi driver, told how today's result was one of mixed emotions.

''They've turned us down twice and why did they do that if they have given to us on the third attempt in front of the tribunal?,'' he asked.

''Most families will get that first letter and say 'oh well, that's it'.

''Is that a ploy by the Government to curtail monies? Not everyone's got the willpower that I've had.''

Mr Johnson said he would continue to campaign for a change in the law on how compensation is awarded.

''A criminal can go inside and get beat up and claim thousands,'' Mr Johnson said.

''They have got previous convictions as long as your arm and if Kevin had a minor infringement he would have been turned down for that. He didn't.

''So they couldn't get him on Rule 13, so they got him on Rule 15.

''He left the safety of his house, so what they are more or less saying is let the scum rule the streets and don't go out to them and don't stand up to them. You've got to call the police.

''I reckon most people would have done what Kevin did. When there's rowdy behaviour outside your house it's just human nature to go out.

''Hindsight is a lovely thing. If he thought he was going to get murdered he wouldn't have gone out but you don't think of them things.''

He added: ''It's not really the money, it's the way they blamed Kevin. Muddying his name and his character. That's what rankled with us.

''No amount of money you could give us would ever be enough for Kevin. They have got to put a price on it and £11,000 is the price that they put.

''When you take into context that an MP can claim more than that for a kitchen for his second home, it makes you sick.

''We're the victims all the time and we'll be the victims until we die. The whole emphasis is on the criminals and they get everything they want inside.

''If Kevin had a criminal record we would not have been able to make a claim at all.

''But he never did. They had convictions as long as your arm but its called human rights.

''It's all wrong.''

Last year, Mr Johnson presented a 35,000-signature petition at Downing Street with other families affected by knife crime.

That was part of his Enough Is Enough campaign, which is calling for tougher sentences in cases involving knives.

Dean Curtis, who was 18 at the time, Tony Hawkes, who was 17, and Jordan Towers, 16, were all given life sentences for Mr Johnson's murder with minimum terms of 17 years, 16 years and 13 years in prison respectively.

Mr Johnson left a son, Chaise, who is now two years old.

Comments (2)

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4:45pm Wed 29 Apr 09

Dean M says...

So Jordan Towers got a life sentence - but will be out when still in his twenties.

Have I misunderstood something or is British Justice a sick joke?
So Jordan Towers got a life sentence - but will be out when still in his twenties. Have I misunderstood something or is British Justice a sick joke? Dean M

5:47pm Wed 29 Apr 09

big arnie says...

"No amount of money you could give us would ever be enough for Kevin. They have got to put a price on it and £11,000 is the price that they put.
"When you take into context that an MP can claim more than that for a kitchen for his second home, it makes you sick.
"We're the victims all the time and we'll be the victims until we die. The whole emphasis is on the criminals and they get everything they want inside."

Never a truer word spoken. And it's a bloody disgrace.
"No amount of money you could give us would ever be enough for Kevin. They have got to put a price on it and £11,000 is the price that they put. "When you take into context that an MP can claim more than that for a kitchen for his second home, it makes you sick. "We're the victims all the time and we'll be the victims until we die. The whole emphasis is on the criminals and they get everything they want inside." Never a truer word spoken. And it's a bloody disgrace. big arnie

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