‘This is our life sentence’ say murder victim’s family as Sunderland killer wins parole move

John and Kath Johnson, parents of murdered Kevin Johnson.
John and Kath Johnson, parents of murdered Kevin Johnson.

The father of Kevin Johnson has spoken of how his family will continue to live a “life sentence” after one of his killers was told he could be out in a year.

John Johnson has fought for tougher knife crime sentences after his son was stabbed to death outside his Pennywell home in May 2007.
Demolition worker Kevin, 22, had gone outside to remonstrate with a group of youths as his newborn son Chaise tried to sleep.

Jordan Towers, one of the three young men jailed for the murder of Kevin Johnson.

Jordan Towers, one of the three young men jailed for the murder of Kevin Johnson.

Jordan Towers, then of Fell Road, Ford Estate, was just 16 at time and was convicted of murder on the grounds of joint enterprise.

He is serving a minimum 13-year life sentence but has made several attempts to have his term cut.

He has now received a 12-month reduction in his punishment after the High Court in London heard he is a changed man.
This means he will be able to apply for parole in May next year.

Now Kevin’s family face another ordeal as they prepare for the prospect of another hearing next year, with John planning to address the court in person to tell the judges why they believe he should not be freed and the everlasting impact the killing has had on him and his loved ones.

“When you get news like this, you’re just gobsmacked”

John Johnson

John, 66, who is married to Kath, 68, are backed by Kevin’s partner Adele, who changed her surname from Brett to Johnson as the couple had planned to marry.

John, from Ryhope, said: “When you get news like this, you’re just gobsmacked and the times he’s tried to get this is about six or seven now and I thought the would fail at this one.

“But in this case the judges have agreed, but it’s a pity he hadn’t been a good lad before he went in.

“He was given a life sentence, but will probably be out when he’s 29, 30, he’s got another 40 years ahead of him and can start his life all over again.

“For us, this never goes away.

“This is our life sentence.

“Every time there’s another murder it brings it back, every time there’s a murder scene on the TV it brings it back, it makes you think about Kevin.

“Christmas, anniversaries, birthdays, Father’s days are awful, it takes it out of you, and it’s the same for Adele who has been left without her partner.

“That’s never going to change. We’re never going to be free.”

Towers was convicted of murder on the grounds of joint enterprise.

Tony Stuart Hawkes, then 17 and of Mortimer Street, Ford, was the first to stab Kevin and received a 16-year minimum tariff.

Dean Curtis, 18 at the time and of Forest Road, Ford, also attacked Kevin and was told he could not apply for parole for 17 years.