Hundreds of mourners pay respect to boy who was stabbed to death in suspected racist attack

·3-min read

Hundreds of mourners lined the streets to pay their respects to a talented teenage footballer who was stabbed to death in a suspected racist attack.

Dea-John Reid, 14, was targeted by thugs while he was out with friends before he was knifed outside a McDonald's restaurant.

Witnesses say the teenager received racial abuse shortly before he was killed in Kingstanding, Birmingham, on May Bank Holiday Monday (31/5).

On Wednesday (14/7) around 300 people lined the streets near where he died and hundreds more watched his funeral which was live-streamed online.

Dea-John's devastated mum Joan Morris - who wore purple as a symbol of peace - walked ahead of her son's white coffin as it was brought to the church by horse-drawn carriage.

Six pallbearers wore purple tunics with photos of Dea-John in their lapels and placed 

the casket bearing his name at the front of the New Testatment Church of God in 

Handsworth.  

In a tribute from Joan, which was read out by a family friend, she said: "I can't believe it has been six tragic weeks since the death of my baby son Dea-John. 

"I will remember the day May 31 as the day my world turned upside down, you have left us too soon. 

"Every morning I wake up and I still look forward to coming into my bedroom and asking how I was.

"Every time my phone rings I hope it is you. 

"When the front door knocks I hope it is you asking 'what's up mum, what's for dinner?'

"On May 31 you were waiting out to go for football and asked me to comb your hair and I said I would do it when you were back.  

"When time was getting on I rang and asked if you still wanted me to comb your hair and you said 'I will be home in 40 minutes'. 

"I'm still waiting for that 40 minutes because you never returned. 

"I never knew it would be last time I saw your face. 

"Dea-John I miss you asking you to make a cup of tea for me, giving me my medication, checking on me, adding photos to my Facebook page and I miss hearing your voice saying 'get with the flow'. 

"So many people came to your vigil it was like you were a celebrity which I know you would loved." 

Bishop Desmond Jaddoo, who led the funeral service, paid tribute to the youngster, and described his final moments running away from his killers.

He said: "Thank you Lord, he doesn't have to run anymore, look over his shoulder anymore because he is sheltered by Jesus.  

"Thank for the government who is seeing what is happening around us and is putting in sustainable policies to protect us. 

"We pray for those who are chained by violence, and we pray that you Lord set them free from those chains." 

His brother Kirk, who gave Dea-John the nickname 'Robinho' because of his incredible footballing skills, said: "Brothers can never be apart and love you forever and miss you more than words can express."

The 90-minute service ended with a video montage played on a big screen showing Dea-John performing dozens of football kick-ups.

Four men aged 33, 35, 36 and 38, and two boys aged 13 and 14, have been charged with in connection with his murder.

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