Mother of Bradley Matcham welcomes decision to gate off alleyway where he was killed
The mother of a young man killed in a Northampton town centre alleyway has welcomed news that it will be locked and gated off for good.
Bradley Matcham was punched once in the head in the confines of the Jeyes Jetty, which connects Drapery with College Street, earlier this year on February 9. He died nine days later from his injuries, and his 19-year-old killer was jailed last month for four years for his manslaughter.
Bradley’s mother Sarah Matcham addressed councillors last night (October 16) at The Guildhall to support proposals to put gates at either end of the Jetty.
She said: “I have very strong reasons for wanting this alleyway gated and locked. My son was a kind, caring young man who had just been promoted and had been celebrating with friends in the town.
“Should the Jeyes Jetty have been gated and locked in February my son would still be alive. In the alleyway, he was assaulted with one punch to his head. It was an unprovoked attack on him.
“The Jetty has a long-standing history of crime and anti-social behaviour, and now my son’s death has been added to this list.”
She told councillors she had recently visited the Jetty for the first time since her son’s death, and that she had felt ‘intimidated’ by people loitering there.
A recent consultation with members of the public found that 70 per cent of the 188 people who responded supported the closure of the Jetty.
The borough council was also proposing to implement a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in order to restrict the public right of way. It also gives authorised persons from the council the power to issue fixed penalties of £100 to any person suspected of committing an offence in the area.
Mrs Matcham added: “You cannot protect my son as he is already a victim who has lost his life. But you can in some way help by granting this PSPO.
“It is time for it to be locked and gated so no other friend or relative has to receive news that their loved one has been in an incident.
“Bradley would have been 25 next week. As a legacy to Bradley, through losing his life in his own hometown, a policy can be passed to prevent this happening again. It would be a tribute to all his birthdays that he will never see again.”
Cabinet members unanimously approved the proposals. Councillor Mike Hallam told Mrs Matcham: “I am in awe of you as a parent. Thank you for coming along.”
And council leader Jonathan Nunn added: “We cannot believe what you have been through, but we are very grateful to you for coming here tonight.”
Speaking after the decision to gate it off and introduce the PSPO, Mrs Matcham told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I went to the alleyway for the first time recently and it is grim. I couldn’t really see what purpose there could be for keeping it open because it’s attracting so much anti-social behaviour and crime. I wouldn’t wish any member of the public to be in my situation.
“I’m absolutely delighted that the council has thoroughly looked into this and made the right decision.”