We Don't Want to Meet Our Son's Killer, We Would Rather Airbrush Him from Our Lives; Stabbed: Christopher Barrell, Left, Was Killed by Desmond Brown, Right, in 1991. the Victim's Parents, Peter and Carol, above, Say They Cannot Forgive Him

The Evening Standard (London, England), April 15, 2008 | Go to article overview

We Don't Want to Meet Our Son's Killer, We Would Rather Airbrush Him from Our Lives; Stabbed: Christopher Barrell, Left, Was Killed by Desmond Brown, Right, in 1991. the Victim's Parents, Peter and Carol, above, Say They Cannot Forgive Him


Byline: ROB SINGH

THE parents of a soldier stabbed to death as he walked his dog havespurned his reformed killer's offer to meet them.

Former Coldstream Guard Christopher Barrell was killed 17 years ago after hewas involved in a fight with three men near his family's home in Romford.

The 21-year-old, who had survived tours of duty in Northern Ireland, wasstabbed in the stomach with a lock knife and died in hospital.

A year later, 17-year-old Desmond Brown walked free on probation from the OldBailey after admitting manslaughter.

Brown claimed in court that Mr Barrell had started the fight. He said he wasonly carrying the knife for his own protection but has since admitted he hadwanted to be intimidating.

Today, the killer is a father-of-four and youth pastor at a Christian youthclub in Walthamstow who speaks in schools about the dangers of knife crime.

He said recently he hoped to meet Mr Barrell's parents, Carol and Peter,adding: "I'm not expecting forgiveness. If there's anything they want to say orvent, I'll take it on the chin. Somebody had to die for me to realise thatcarrying a knife is never the answer." But the couple, who are now both intheir sixties, said they were "cynical" about Brown's claims to be reformed.

Mr Barrell, a retired Met detective superintendent, said: "I don't think Icould ever forgive him.

"I want to forget him. Meeting him would achieve nothing. If he has trulyturned his life around, good luck to him but he hasn't turned mine round.

"My way of keeping Desmond Brown out of my life and thoughts is to airbrush himout and honour the name of my son. …

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We Don't Want to Meet Our Son's Killer, We Would Rather Airbrush Him from Our Lives; Stabbed: Christopher Barrell, Left, Was Killed by Desmond Brown, Right, in 1991. the Victim's Parents, Peter and Carol, above, Say They Cannot Forgive Him
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