Heartbroken parents ordered to remove shrine for their knifed son
PUBLISHED: 11:49 05 March 2014 | UPDATED: 12:03 05 March 2014
The father of a murdered man has spoken of his shock after he received a letter asking him to remove a shrine at the scene of his son's death.
Gerald Hamilton, 62, says he and his wife, Eileen, 58, are comforted by the floral tributes and photos on the corner of Poplar High Street and Simpson’s Road where his son Liam was fatally stabbed in July, aged 32.
“We go up their daily and we keep it nice and tidy,” Gerald said. “My wife is disabled and she finds it hard because she can’t visit Liam’s grave as much as she’d like to, but she can go up to the shrine and speak to Liam.”
But the couple received a letter from Tower Hamlets Homes last Wednesday which told them to remove all traces of the shrine by the end of the February – just two days later.
In the letter, housing officer Godfrey McCurdy says that although the matter is a “very sensitive situation” he “must consider the wishes of other residents”, adding: “I appreciate that this is a difficult issue for you and would thank you for your anticipated co-operation”.
Gerald, of Plimsoll Close, Poplar, said: “I thought it was terrible because they should show a bit of respect to the family.
“I would have thought that they would have let some of the shrine stay there. It was massive at first, with tons of flowers, but it is smaller now and I would just like to keep something there.”
Liam, a passionate Liverpool fan, was stabbed in the back with a kitchen knife by his cousin, Paul Hamilton, 30, of Woodstock Terrace, Poplar, who was found guilty of murder at the Old Bailey last month and was sentenced to serve a minimum of 26 years.
Liam’s girlfriend, Abbie Unwin, found out that she was pregnant shortly after his killing and plans to name their daughter Mila, an anagram of his name.
A spokesman from Tower Hamlets Homes said: “This is clearly a very sad situation. We sympathise with Mr Hamilton on his loss and understand he wants to commemorate his son.
“We want to find a solution that works for all the residents of the block and will meet the family later this week for further discussions.”