Last year there were almost one million violent crimes that were alcohol-related and around half of all violent crime was considered alcohol-related by victims.
3 years ago on May 5th, my 21 year old cousin was killed in a bar fight in a Walkabout in Portsmouth. He was in the Navy and part of the HMS Liverpool, his name was Kyle.
He was charming, charismatic, funny, smart and caring. A 'gentle giant' as branded by the press during the time of the trial. After the CCTV was seen, it became more clear what had happened that night. A fight had broken out and Kyle was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time We think it was caused by some banter about Marines and the Navy, as some marines were in the bar that night also.
I can't describe how it feels to have someone you were so close to just not be there any more. It hurts. It hurts more than anything. I think the fact that I will never get to see him with a family, growing old and being in love is what hurts the most.
I had only just started to get to know Kyle better since his Mum had moved nearby and he would come and visit. I took him on nights out with my friends, went to see films together and I saw what a lovely guy he was. We were the same age so it was nice to chat about relationships, music, TV- all the normal things you would expect to talk about. I can still remember being a small child and Kyle coming to visit at my Grandma's house- we played hide and seek and it was such a massive house it lasted hours!
It has been 3 years and it still hasn't really sunk in. I still sometimes expect it all to be some elaborate lie or a mistake. I know that isn't possible but I sometimes have to remind myself he isn't here any more.
What might hurt the most about all of this is that no-one is paying for his death. The trial found all men in question not guilty...but surely SOMEONE is to blame? Kyle didn't kill himself.
He died of head injuries due to being kicked and stamped on. I know that sounds matter-of-fact and a bit heartless to write it down, but I want people to realise the enormity of what happened. This BBC News article can explain what happened in more detail but it is too much for me to go into: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/hampshire/8461768.stm
I have a tattoo in memory of Kyle on my wrist and whenever I am feeling down, I look at it and it reminds me to live everyday like it's my last because, like Kyle, you never know when it might be.
|'Taken Too Soon' in Afrikaans (Kyle's favourite place)|
I am starting a new job soon very close to where Kyle is buried and I will be visiting him as often as I can. It makes me feel close to him and I feel I can talk to him as if he can hear me there.
I saw a clairvoyant earlier this year, and although I am not sure I believe in all that 'stuff', he told me that he was okay and wanted me to be happy. I am not sure how that makes me feel- happy that he is happy or sad that I can't really know that.
I hope that this post might make you be a bit more aware of your actions when on a night out. A bar fight can spiral out of control and Kyle is proof of that if nothing else. My auntie is campaigning for more awareness of the severity of bar fights, the Kyle Bartlett Memorial Fund hold various charity events and the money raised is going towards building a memorial park and continuing youth projects in the area.