Mum's heartache as son went out for 21st birthday but never came home


    A grieving mum, whose son was stabbed to death while celebrating his 21st birthday, says she still suffers flashbacks from that night. Sharing her pain, Gill Radcliffe said it “feels like yesterday” since her son Sam Cook was killed in Liverpool city centre. 

    According to the Liverpool Echo, Sam was celebrating his milestone birthday when he was stabbed in the heart by Carl Madigan, in Empire nightclub, on October 21, 2017.

    Five years on from the day Sam was murdered, Gill said it doesn’t get any easier and the trauma of losing her only son has left her with PTSD.

    To mark the fifth anniversary of his death, Gill is asking people to light a candle in memory of Sam and all those who have lost their lives to knife and gun crime.

    Gill, 56, said: “It’s five years but it just feels like yesterday really. It doesn’t get any easier. This last year has been horrific. A little girl in her own home has been shot and killed, and I just think it’s important that everyone takes a minute to remember the people we’ve lost. 

    “Take a minute out just to remember what happened to Sam and all the others. Adam Ellison’s family – they haven’t got justice. For me as a mum, I can’t even switch on the news anymore because it brings so much back to me.”

    “I always get messages from people when something does happen saying ‘I’m thinking of you’. There’s so many fabulous people in this city with hearts of gold, it’s only a minority that are spoiling it for the rest of us.

    “Sam was a normal lad going out on his birthday and he never came home. So I think people who message think ‘what if that was my child?’ And rightly so because it was shocking what happened.

    “We’re all going to light a candle, it’s a way of showing unity really. It’s not making a stand but it’s showing we all care.”

    Carl Madigan was sentenced to a minimum of 28 years in June 2018 after being found guilty of Sam’s murder. Sam’s grandad David Radcliffe, 82, suffered a heart attack just 12 hours after a jury found his grandson’s killer guilty.

    Gill said Sam was very close to his grandad who “died of a broken heart.” Gill said: “Sam was my only child. His dad has got two sons who we’re so close to. He was just a normal hardworking lad. He worked as an electrician. 

    “He got his driving license and he had a car. He loved his nan, he loved his mum and his brothers, he was very family-orientated lad. He had a heart of gold. We’re a close family even though Alan and I are split up.”

    Sam’s friends and family visited his grave to mark his 26th birthday on Wednesday. They will visit the grave again this Friday and plan to go for a meal to celebrate his life.

    Gill added: “It’s hard obviously, it’s really hard and Sam should be with us. We shouldn’t be going to his grave. 

    “I can just be in a normal situation and I’ll get flashbacks. I’ve been told I’ve got PTSD and that comes out in horrific dreams. 

    “His friends still see me and mum. They came out for his birthday and they’re all going out on Friday. It just shows the type of person he was.

    “People even now, five years later, come up to me and say ‘I knew Sam’ and say what a lovely lad he was.”


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