Brixton pastor who lost son in tragic stabbing teams up with author to tackle knife crime

A pastor whose son was stabbed to death in 2014 is taking part in a national competition to help raise awareness of knife crime and county lines exploitation.

Pastor Lorraine Jones-Burrell, 51, from Brixton, will be judging the competition which has been launched by children’s author and honorary member of the NSPCC council, Christina Gabbitas.

The competition asks young people to write a poem or song to highlight the dangers of carrying knives and being exploited by county lines drugs gangs.

Entries will be considered by a panel of 45 judges from across the UK including poets, police officers, young people and people with lived experience of county lines.

Pastor Jones-Burrell said: “I have sadly experienced the horror of losing my son, Dwayne Simpson, to knife crime. 

“The impact shattered my heart and family. 

“Youth violence and child exploitation has sadly grown in numbers. It’s truly a miracle when a victim survives and is able to rehabilitate and heal.”

Christina Gabbitas, who has launched the competition (Picture: Christina Gabbitas)

Mr Simpson, 20, was stabbed in the heart as he tried to protect his friend in Brixton’s Angell Town estate in February 2014. In December 2014, Rio Julienne-Clarke was jailed for manslaughter over the former Lambeth College student’s death.

Ms Gabbitas has spent years working with police forces and schools to educate young people, teachers, parents and carers about the devastating consequences of carrying knives, and to spot the signs of grooming and exploitation.

She said: “We’re keen to see young people get creative with what is an important topic that everyone should be aware of.

“Your words have the power to make a difference.”

The competition has two age groups categories, one for 12-16-year-olds and the other for 17-21-year-olds. 

The overall winner will be awarded a £200 voucher for a store of their choice, with a £100 voucher for second place and a £50 voucher for third place.

The top 50 poems or songs will also be published in a special book which all selected participants will receive for free with further proceeds donated to NSPCC Childline.

The closing date for submissions is June 30. Entries should be sent to For more information visit

Pictured top: Pastor Lorraine Jones-Burrell (Picture: Pastor Lorraine Jones-Burrell)

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