'I never want to see any of you in my courtroom': Top judge opens safety conference for Northampton schoolchildren

A top Northampton judge asked the town's schoolchildren today to 'think of consequences' and make sure they never end up in one of his courtrooms.

Over 180 Year 6 students from across Northampton learned about identity, hate speech and the consequences of knife crime at a one-stop-shop safety conference at the Deco Theatre today (February 5).

The conference warned the children about the dangers of knife crime, online safety and crime prevention.

The conference warned the children about the dangers of knife crime, online safety and crime prevention.

Workshops and talks taught the pupils about issues that could affect them and their communities, including online safety, anti-social behaviour, rail safety and crime prevention.

The conference was opened by His Honour Judge Rupert Mayo, recorder for Northampton, who told the children what they could do through their lives so they would never up in a court like his.

He said: "I'm here today because I don't want to see any of you in my court in Northampton.

"What I see in court is very, very sad. It means that something has gone wrong. It means someone has done something silly that probably was a crime.

The conference at the Deco Theatre was attended by over 180 children from across Northampton.

The conference at the Deco Theatre was attended by over 180 children from across Northampton.

"I'm happy that every single one of you will take something from today so you, your families and your friends will not end up in my courtroom."

Judge Mayo's opening address also warned the children that people who carry knives often only get hurt themselves.

It comes after he ruled over the murder case of Liam Hunt, a 17-year-old Northampton boy who was stabbed to death in February 2017. The case saw one 18-year-old jailed for murder and four others sentenced for manslaughter.

The 180 Year 6 students from Kings Heath, Lumbertubs, St Mary’s and The Good Shepherd Primary Schools were also treated to Rushden Academy's original play 'Add Me' about online safety, and Northampton School for Boys' performance of their play 'I'm Still Me' about the effects of hate crime.

The borough council plans to have every Year 6 student in Northampton attend one of the Partnership's conferences before the end of the academic year.

Councillor Anna King, cabinet member for community safety, said: “As our children progress through school and life events, it is essential we give them the information and tools they will need to navigate challenges they may encounter.

“Reaching out to this particular age group, ahead of their transition to secondary school, is an ideal opportunity to raise awareness of potential issues the students may face now and in the future, and we will aim to continue working with partners to deliver these events on a consistent and regular basis.”