Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

I Couldn't Do Anything to Make Him Stop. He Was Not the Son That I Knew

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

I Couldn't Do Anything to Make Him Stop. He Was Not the Son That I Knew

Article excerpt

Byline: By Lisa Hutchinson

Top student who went off the rails knifed his stepfather

He was a gold-star student who made his mother proud.

But drink and drugs turned this baby-faced scholar into a knife-wielding monster.

Michael Richardson has been jailed at Newcastle Crown Court after plunging a knife five times into his stepfather's body. It was only Tony Chance's 17st frame that saved him from death after the blade nicked his left lung.

Today, Richardson's mother Marie Richardson and Tony told how the boy they were preparing to watch graduate from Northumbria University this summer turned into a drink-fuelled animal.

The pair hope jail will turn him back into the studious young man who will return to his BSc course when he gets out later this year.

Richardson was jailed for 12 months after admitting unlawful wounding. He already had a string of previous drink-related offences and was in breach of community sentences for racially-aggravated harassment and being drunk and disorderly.

"I became ashamed of him," said Marie, 49, at their family home in Acanthus Avenue, Fenham, Newcastle. "He was always top of his class. He got a string of GCSEs and a number of A-levels and then went on to do a computing, engineering and information science course at Northumbria.

"I was always proud of him, but drink and drugs turned him into someone I didn't know anymore. We never thought he'd have done this to Tony, who he sees as his stepdad. He was drunk morning, noon and night. It was getting so bad that I had butterflies in my stomach not knowing how he was going to come in. Then, in the latter months, we suspected he was on drugs. His eyes were constantly glazed, they had that fixed look that was awful.

"I couldn't do anything to get him to stop. He was a different person. He wasn't the son I knew.

"To be honest, I'm glad it ended like this, not for the fact that Tony got stabbed, but for the fact Michael was caught by the police and locked up. Although he was sentenced this week, he's been on remand in Durham Prison since January 26 when it happened.

"He looks better than he has done for a long time. …

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