IN her emotional interview yesterday, Zoe McGill, the heartbroken mother of murdered 18-year-old Jack Woodley, said of his 10 attackers whom she had come face to face with during their trial: “I think they thought it was just a game. They came into court the same way, they were just kids – you expect monsters but they were just young kids.”

These “kids” have not only taken away Jack’s life, which had so much to offer, but they have also destroyed their own chances and they have condemned those closest to them to years of agony as well. The ripples from this terrible crime are going to be felt by so many people.

Research suggests that the 10 are likely to have come from backgrounds where violence was regularly present, and that they are unlikely to take much advice from parental figures as they look to their peers for approval.

We therefore have to get the message drilled into their social groups, into their classrooms: do not carry a knife. Don’t pick it up. Even if it is just for bravado, it is a small step from murder.

We admire the way Zoe is already trying to get this message across, and we feel desperately for her for she, too, is a victim of this senseless crime. Our hearts go out to her as she tries to come to terms with what has happened to her boy and to prevent others from suffering in the same way.