The brave mother of an innocent man stabbed to death in a botched revenge attack has spoken of watching his last painful moments as he gasped for breath.
Launching her self-funded anti-knife campaign ‘Cut it out’, Jean Foster has had to face the awful truth of her son Chris’s murder so she can get her message out there to young people still carrying knives on Southwark streets.
Chris Foster was enjoying a drink with his best mate outside St Christopher’s Inn in Borough High Street on November 29, 2013, when a gang of seven men approached in single file, their faces hidden by hoods and scarves. Out for revenge on another man, who had allegedly attacked one of them a few months earlier, Aytach Lisani, 33, of Sir Francis Way, Brentwood, mistakenly stabbed Chris, 34, leaving his then four-year-old daughter Christina without a daddy.
The emergency services were called at 11.45pm but while they were on their way, CCTV footage inside the pub captured Chris’s last moments when he can be seen fighting for his life.
In order for permission to be given for the distressing scenes to be aired as part of a BBC documentary next month, Jean had to watch the video herself first.
“You could see poor Chris was in agony,” she said. “A lot of people are under the impression that it was a quick death and he didn’t suffer, but he did.
“You can see it in his eyes, they’re as big as saucers and he can’t breathe,” she added.
The London Ambulance Service treated Chris at the scene before taking him to the Royal London Hospital where he died just after 1am.
With those painful images in her mind, Jean remains determined to share the truth of what happened to her beloved son to wake young people up to the real consequences of knife crime.
“It’s harrowing but that’s what happened to him,” said Jean, who has recorded a spoken word video about her experience to be shared with as many schools and youth groups as possible.
“My main aim is to try and make people know that the knife is not the answer,” she said. “All that bravado about carrying knives doesn’t make you any more of a man. Think of the consequences after you’ve used it,” she added.
The MET police have already asked Jean if they can use her video in talks with young people and it has been circulated to youth leaders in Southwark.
There are two men suspected of being involved on the night of Chris’s murder who have yet to be brought to justice. Jean is hoping they too will see her video and think again.
“I hope it will also get to them and make them think,” said Jean. “They’ve taken so much from us. At present they’re free but do they want to be looking over their shoulder for the rest of their lives. They’re better off coming forward.”
In addition to Aytach Lisani being sent down for 23 years for Chris’s murder, three men were found guilty of conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm to their intended victim and two men were acquitted of the same charge.