A HEARTBROKEN grandmother who raised her daughter’s sons after they witnessed her murder has told of her agony following the tragic death of the younger boy after he was hit by a train.

Shelley McKitten Wardle said Kelly’s death 13 years ago had a devastating and lasting impact on 17-year-old Jamie, whose father was jailed for the brutal killing.

The popular youngster was just four when he witnessed the fatal attack on his mother and died from his injuries on the railway at Chester-le-Street last Wednesday.

Shelley, who is 64, said: “I did not think he would do this, but he was in a bad place mentally.

“He has been ever since he was a little boy. He just wanted his mam.

“We gave him what we could, but we could not give him that.

“He was getting worse as a got older because he realised things more.

“Christmas was a bad time, then it was his birthday in January, the anniversary of her dying in February then Mothers’ Day in March.

“He suffered terribly. He put on this brave face, that he was big lad who could cope but he couldn’t.”

The Northern Echo:

Jamie with his grandparents on holiday 

The Northern Echo:

Jamie with his older brother Ross

Jamie lived with his older brother, Ross, 21, Shelley, and his grandad, Joe, 65, at the house they shared in Great Lumley.

Shelley said Jamie grew up with post-traumatic stress disorder, which affected his whole childhood, as a result of the horrific attack in his home at Gardiner Crescent, in Pelton Fell, in 2008.

Stuart Cummings, his mother’s ex-partner, savagely beat and raped her over a period of several hours while her sons cowered under the bedclothes.

The Northern Echo:

Jamie, right, with his brother Ross on holiday 

Cummings was jailed for life at Newcastle Crown Court in a case that shocked and sickened the close-knit community and ordered to serve a minimum term of 24 years.

Shelley said: “It was just horrendous. He saw his dad do it. He was just four. He could remember bits. They say when kids are just young and something really traumatic happens they remember it.

“He did not like loud noises. You could not hide behind a door and say ‘boo’ with Jamie.

“He didn’t like it. He just wanted his mam, and that is the top and bottom of it. We talked about her all of the time. He missed her.”

Shelley said Jamie has considered writing to his father when he was younger, but had decided against it.

She said: “There was a couple of times he said he might write to his dad or go and see him.

“His counsellor at the time asked: ‘what would he say?’ and he said: ‘I would just ask him why he did it’.

“When he got older he said he was not interested in him and did not want anything to do with him.

“He always said Joe, his grandad, was more of his dad.

The Northern Echo:

Jamie with his grandad Joe

“We never bad mouthed him because he felt bad enough knowing it was his dad that did it, his dad that has caused all of this hurt.

“I just hope he never gets out of prison.”

As a youngster, Jamie was a pupil at Pelton Roseberry Primary School, before he attended Hermitage Academy and Elemore Hall School, eventually joining an alternative education curriculum.

He worked with his uncle, Callum, a former soldier, as a landscape gardener and was keen sportsman who enjoyed playing football and cricket as well as cycling and running.

After his death, a sea of flowers was left on the platform at Chester-le-Street Railway Station in his memory and large groups of his friends held a vigil there on Good Friday.

The Northern Echo:

The floral tributes left on the platform 

So far £12,000 has been donated by well-wishers to pay for Jamie’s funeral following an outpouring of grief in the town.

Shelley said she became worried when he failed to return home for his dinner on Wednesday evening.

She said: “If he stayed out at his mate’s house or anything Jamie always came home for a shower and something to eat.

“When he was not home around 10pm I started to get a bit concerned.

“When he did not come home his dinner I started to phone his friends.

“They said they didn’t know where he was.

The Northern Echo:

A smiling picture of Jamie taken last week

Shelley said: "I phoned the police and it was about 2am time they came and said there had been a body found and they had identified him through his fingerprints.

“It is horrible. He was tormented. He never got over losing his mam.

“I am heartbroken. I just want my boy back.”

To support the fundraiser for Jamie's funeral CLICK HERE

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