Heartbroken South Yorkshire family back gun campaign

Marie and Kevin whos son was a victim of a knife crime with Chief Comstable David Crompton and Deputy Crime Commisssioner Tracy Cheetham
Marie and Kevin whos son was a victim of a knife crime with Chief Comstable David Crompton and Deputy Crime Commisssioner Tracy Cheetham

Heartbroken parents of a schoolboy shot dead have helped create al film detailing the dangers of air weapons as their beloved son’s lasting legacy.

Alex Cole’s life was cut short when a pal showing off his father’s new air weapon accidentally fired the gun at the 12-year-old.

The boys had been playing a computer game together when Alex’s pal found the gun under his father’s bed, cocked the weapon and opened fire – blasting Alex in the eye.

A pellet penetrated Alex’s brain and the Conisbrough youngster could not be saved.

His life-support machine was switched off the next day.

Alex’s parents and South Yorkshire Police have now joined forces to ensure the youngster did not die in vain by creating a film to be shown in schools detailing the circumstances surrounding his death.

They hope it will help save the lives of other youngsters tempted to play with air weapons.

Speaking at the film’s launch yesterday, Marie Cole, supported by her husband Kevin, spoke through tears to talk about the devastating loss of their son in 2005.

She said: “We are devastated by the tragic loss of our son. Our life completely changed that fateful day and we miss him every day.

“You do not expect your children to go before you, especially in these tragic circumstances.

“While it has been difficult to relive our experiences, we hope by working with the police on a film to educate young people of the dangers and consequences of air weapons we can help prevent another person getting injured and a family having to go through the pain we continue to go through on a daily basis.”

The film, Dirty Nails, relives Alex’s last few hours before tragedy struck.

It is to be shown to children as part of South Yorkshire Police’s Guns and Knives Takes Lives campaign, which sees armed officers visit schools to warn of the dangers of weapons.

PC Matt Birch, who helped create the film, said: “People have needlessly lost their lives in South Yorkshire.”

Last month, 47-year-old Russell Fairchild, of Handsworth Grange Road, Handsworth, Sheffield, was jailed for three years after admitting the manslaughter of pal Chris Humphreys, 24, after shooting him with an air rifle in a prank which went wrong.

Shaun Wright, South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner, said: To lose a child is devastating and I offer my sincere thanks to the family of the boy tragically killed for being so courageous to allow police to cover their tragic experience in the film.

“I hope every young person that watches this film thinks long and hard about the consequences before entering into any life of crime.”