“Have we failed these teenagers?”: Devastated volunteer cop ‘felt helpless’ as stabbed boy, 16, lay dying in street yards from home


A volunteer police officer who was first on the scene of the fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Kennie Carter has described her feeling of helplessness as the youth lay dying in the street. Teacher Lauren Whitworth, 33, who is a special sergeant with GMP, saw Kennie, who had suffered a fatal stab wound to her chest, unconscious just yards from her home in Stretford.

A head of maths at a secondary school, she said more work had to be done in schools to tackle knife and crime and she asked: “Have we failed these teenagers?” As he walked home, Kennie was allegedly followed and pounced on by a group wearing hoods and Covid masks on Stretford’s Lakes estate at 7pm on Saturday, January 22.

He was stabbed in the chest and died later in hospital. Police believe the fatal stabbing was the culmination of a series of tit-for-tat incidents between two rival groups. So far police have arrested 14 youths on suspicion of murder, aged between 12 and 17. Ten of the young suspects remain on police bail.

Special Sergeant Lauren Whitworth speaking at Greater Manchester Police HQ.

Special Sergeant Whitworth, from Urmston, the head of maths at Altrincham College, was the first police officer on the scene of the stabbing on Thirlmere Avenue in Stretford, alongside PC Charlie Crouch. She said the teenager’s eyes were open but he ‘wasn’t there’.

Kennie is one of four youths from Greater Manchester who have died because of knife crime in 2022.

Lauren said: “There was chaos, people everywhere we turned on Thirlmere. At that point Kennie was just laying on the floor. There was somebody giving him CPR, a member of the public.

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“He was laying down on his back near to the wall on the pavement. He was unconscious and not breathing. I went around the back of the car to collect the first aid bag. My colleague was there administering first aid. Charlie took over.

“I was with Kennie’s mum and dad. They only live around the corner. The whole neighborhood was out. Once we have arrived it feels like a long time before the ambulance arrived, but it was only a matter of one or two minutes.

“By that point the whole street was flooded with police and paramedics. It was all happening incredibly fast. I tried to put up the (crime) scene tape while Kennie was taken to the back of the ambulance where they continued to work on him. “

A volunteer cop for the last three years, Lauren said: “I felt absolutely helpless. Every day I think back and think could we have done more? I think I question myself as I work in education.

Kenny Carter

“That’s what upset me most in the coming days and weeks. Have we failed these teenagers? These teenagers are ending up in this situation of being stabbed and people are carrying knives.

“We need to get to the root cause when they are in school and help them see they have options and opportunities, that carrying a knife isn’t the right option. It’s only going to end one way.”

She described seeing Kennie’s parents at the scene: “They were distraught. It was extremely traumatic and devastating, seeing Kennie’s mum especially. She was devastated.

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“She was losing her son in front of her eyes at 16 when he should be out playing football and getting ready to do his GCSEs. He should be planning for the future. His life was taken away from him.”

Lauren described how Kennie’s mother was ‘shouting trying to find who had done it’. She said: “There were at least 15 to 20 people out. The whole neighborhood was out. There were children and parents. The whole neighborhood was out there.

“I just hope that the conversation around knife crime stays on the table and as parents and teachers or anybody who works with teenagers, we continue to do everything we possibly can to minimize this happening in the future. By the time the police get involved, it’s already happened.

“There are branches in the police like safeguarding teams that do work intensively with those involved in knife crime or any sort of criminality. But really it’s those that are close to the teenagers at a young age, the teachers that are working with them every day It’s them that can build this trust.”

Anyone with information is urged to call the detectives investigating the case directly on 0161 856 9908 quoting incident 2529 of 01/22/2022. Details can also be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Any footage or images from the night can be submitted to GMP’s online portal here: https://mipp.police.uk/operation/06GMP22S43-PO1

Manchester’s courts are some of the busiest in the country with a vast array of cases heard every week.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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