Father from Brent gave teenager son a gun for his birthday

Meeting on gang culture hears shocking allegations about bad parenting

A FATHER gave his son a gun for his 18th birthday it was claimed during a discussion on tackling gang violence last night.

The shocking revelation emerged during a meeting in Willesden Green Library in which bad parenting and the media were singled out for their role in young people falling into gangs and a life of crime.

The event was held to discuss ways to curb the violent gang culture that has children in hospital, jail or dead

Organised by Action in the Community (AITC), a group of young people intent on breaking down the educational and social barriers preventing young people in Brent from becoming part of a normal society, youth worker Rick Gardner highlighted the shocking allegation of bad parenting.

Mr Gardner, a former gang member, said: “I heard of a parent who gave his 18-year-old son a 38 magnum [gun] for his birthday and another father who got his son selling drugs for him as he did it better than he did.

“There’s a lack of support and a lack of education for some young people. They have had the steam knocked out of them but it’s about how they can turn that round.”

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The meeting also heard from Vanessa Hyman whose 17-year-old son Anton was brutally murdered seven years ago.

Ms Hyman, who has two other children, revealed she is only beginning to face up to what happened to her eldest child.

She said :“I want to understand it (what happened to my son) so I can try to eradicate it. I believe the power of change is in the community.”

While the police and government were blamed by some, members of the panel and audience largely agreed parents had to take responsibility for knowing where their children were and what they were doing.

However the media was also blamed for their role in glorifying guns and knives with Hollywood films and music being singled out in particular.

One member of the audience asked: “Why do buses and billboards have these sexy film adverts of guns and knives. They are making someone in America a lot of money but not as much as they are costing here.

“They are forcing their negative culture on ours.”

Ms Hyman is organising a conference and march against gangs and violent crime on May 14.

For more details call 07539 538 238 or visit www.amothersteardrops.webs.com.