Birmingham & Black Country

Rapper Joshua Ribera: Mother says knife problems out of hand

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Media captionJoshua Ribera, known as Depzman, was an aspiring rapper. His first royalty cheque was paid the day before he died.

The mother of a teenage rapper murdered in Birmingham has said problems with knives have got "out of hand".

Alison Cope was speaking as police made a fresh appeal in the case of Joshua Ribera, stabbed outside TCs nightclub in Selly Oak on 20 September.

The 18-year-old, known as Depzman, had attended an event in memory of his friend Kyle Sheehan, 16, who was killed in a separate city stabbing.

Ms Cope wants more done to teach youngsters the dangers of knife crime.

"I think the problem has got out of hand," she said.

"The resources that are there at the moment aren't equipped to deal with it."

'Just horrific'

Ms Cope said there needed to be a long-term campaign to teach "love and respect" to young people who had not experienced it.

Asked how the past few months had been, she said: "Devastating. We have lost the light of our lives and we are all just numb at the moment.

Image caption Joshua Ribera was stabbed near a nightclub in Selly Oak

"Surviving each day and that's it. Just horrific."

Ms Cope said her son's career was only just taking off when he was attacked and said he meant "absolutely everything" to her.

"Josh was very special," she said.

"He has always been special. Very affectionate. We would work through any challenges together. We were a team."

She urged people to "think of the bigger picture" and the potential for breaking families' hearts before taking knives out with them.

Armani Mitchell, 18, from The Green in Northfield, has already been charged with murder.

An 18-year-old man from Edgbaston remains on police bail after being arrested in connection with Joshua's death.

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