Seventeen year old Harry Baker survived alone, stabbed, stripped and lying on the floor of a dock yard for one to three hours before he died of his injuries. Let that slowly sink in.
A likeable young lad hunted down by a pack of cruel, cowardly criminals, chased through the streets of our town, degraded and defiled before being stabbed nine times.
No need to mince words, we all know what lie at the heart of Harry’s horrendous fate. His history has been laid bare with tales of ‘Head Boy’ drug dealer status – and stories of selling stuff all over our town.
But for me, despite the crime, no one should be left to lose their life is such a heartless and horrific way – whatever the back story.
And, yeah I know it’s been a while since his callous killers were sentenced.
And there’s an astonishing seven of them. Leon Clifford, Leon Symonds, Peter McCarthy, and a youth were found guilty of murder.
And Ryan Palmer, Lewis Evans, Raymond Thompson were found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.
It’s particularly poignant for me as my own Boy has just celebrated his 18th – another likeable lad of the then same age and same name who quite easily have met the same fate if he had lost his way for a while and stumbled too deeply into the desperate drugs world.
My heart absolutely breaks for Harry’s strong and stoic parents.
For them there will be no 18th Birthday celebrations – or first job, first car, first child, or any other meaningful milestones.
They’ll never again be able to kiss him goodnight, spoil him with a new pair of trainers, nag him over undone chores, shout at him when he’s playing up, or have a rant when the tunes are too loud.
All the things we all do with our kids…and take totally and utterly for granted – I know I do.
Of course, I don’t even for one second pretend to know how those parents are feeling – it is incomprehensible.
And if I have been constantly thinking about this without being involved in any way at all, then imagine what pain they are going through. It must be almost unbearable.
His immediate family included his father Peter, his mother Emma, and brother Alfie said at the time: ““Life will never be the same again without our beautiful son Harry. There was never a dull moment when you were around as your presence was so vibrant.”
A vibrant life taken too soon, that they remembered almost two years later as they released balloons outside the Court that saw his killers brought to justice.
A shockingly sad end to one of the most appalling acts in our town’s history that has seen a young lad’s life lost, and left a loving family shattered forever.
The Voice Of Our Community
Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.
Sue’s Views, the reboot of her much-loved infamous B&D opinion column from back in the day, is where Sue gives her take on the hot topics we are all talking about in our beautiful Barry, and beyond – the good, the bad…and the ugly.