Tyson Fury’s cousin killed: What did the heavyweight champion say about knife violence?
A cousin of the heavyweight champion, Rico Burton, was stabbed in the city of Manchester at the weekend. Is the British government doing enough to tackle the problem?
The boxing world was stunned on Sunday morning as Tyson Fury announced the death of his cousin Rico Burton to a stabbing. Attacked early Sunday morning after a night out, Burton and another were attacked with knives.
Fury, who has become an outspoken activist for mental health in recent years, took to social media to speak up about the growing issue of knife crime in the UK.
“My cousin was murdered last night, stabbed in the neck, this is becoming ridiculous idiots carry knives,” Fury said in a post on Instagram and Twitter.
“This needs to stop ASAP. UK government needs to bring higher sentencing for knife crime, it’s a pandemic and you don’t know how bad it is until it’s one of your own!
“Life is very precious and it can be taken away very quick enjoy every moment.”
Knife crime in the UK
Crimes including knives as a weapon has been a growing problem in the UK. Between September 2020 and September 2021, knife offences increased 3 percent from 36,545 to 37,589. In the year leading up to the covid-19 pandemic, there were 15,930 knife offences per 100,000 people in London. However, contrary to popular belief, the US actually has more knife crime compared to the UK. The US had nearly 5 deaths per million people from knives while the UK had 3.26 per million people in 2016.
Dealing with the issue is multi-faceted. While many, like Fury himself, are arguing for tougher sentences for criminals, this method of tackling the problem will not be put in place if the criminals are not being charged in the first place. Due to a huge court backlog, criminals are not being tried and sentenced for their crimes.
The data shows the scale of the problem. At present, there is a backlog of more than 58,000 cases, up from 39,000 before the covid-19 pandemic. Central to this is the lack of a functioning legal aid platform for defendants. These are lawyers employed to defend those who have no lawyer or cannot afford fees.
Cuts to legal aid and junior barrister pay have meant that the number of junior barristers fell by 11 percent between 2016 and 2020, with no uptick in job numbers since. Barristers recently voted to strike indefinitely over pay and conditions in UK courts.
Manchester, where Burton’s killer is likely to be tried, has a backlog of more than 1,000 serious cases. Without a big shift in terms of support for barristers and the criminal justice system in the UK then it could be years before Fury can feel a sense of justice.
To be able to comment you must be registered and logged in. Forgot password?