Girlfriend of stabbing victim Azaan Kaleem marks first anniversary of his death

Shannon Martin will meet her boyfriend’s family for an anniversary dinner tomorrow.

She and Azaan Kaleem knew each other for six years before they became an inseparable couple who pledged to spend their lives together.

But their dreams of travelling then settling down were not realised because he was murdered.

Loved ones are mark­ing the first anniversary of his death.

Shannon’s witty, ambitious, affectionate 18-year-old boyfriend was stabbed through the heart in front of her.

Shannon says: “I still have images of what happened in my head, haunting me. They’re as vivid and horrible now as they where that day.

“I have nightmares and can’t sleep, have panic attacks, can’t walk past gangs of lads on the street or even just one lad.

“I haven’t had a day without crying since Azaan died,” she added.

Shannon, 18, of Luton, Beds, watched in horror as, yards from her dad’s house, her boyfriend was surrounded on the street by a gang of young men.

He collapsed after being attacked. Two days later, his life support machine was turned off in hospital.

Shannon gave evidence at the Old Bailey trial which resulted in three young men being convicted of the murder.

Another was found guilty of manslaughter.

 The attack was seemingly sparked by a brief exchange with a young man on a bicycle on the street in Luton.

Shannon told the court she and Azaan were confronted by the youth who motioned as if he was about to pull out a knife.

Shannon says Azaan put a hand in his jacket to show he had a blade.

He had started carrying it after being attacked previously.

The lad on the bike rode off and minutes later four youths arrived in a car.

CCTV images capture the gang surrounding Azaan as he is killed.

Shannon says: “I will never forgive them.”

'His killing had a big impact on us at hospital'

Surgeon David Kirby explains why he will never forget battling to save 18-year-old Azaan Kaleem’s life.

David, consultant in emergency medicine at Luton & Dunstable Hospital, says: “The time between Azaan arriving on our trolley to the time I had his heart in my hands was two minutes, the fastest I’ve ever opened anyone’s chest.

“He had a hole in the right ventricle of his heart. I put my finger in that hole and my colleague pumped blood into him.

“Slowly his heart started beating again. I stood for the next hour with my finger in Azaan’s heart while we tried to get it to beat properly on his own — the longest I’ve ever had my finger in someone’s heart.

“Then I had to stitch a beating heart with my finger in a hole.

“We managed to get Azaan’s heart beating on its own and then I met his mum. I told her Azaan had the heart of an ox and we’d done all we can but had to get him through the next bit.

“Over the next two days, when Azaan was in [intensive care], I went in to see him on my day off. At that point we realised his brain was dead and he was not going to survive.

“His death had a big impact on us at the hospital… Nothing is worth plunging a knife into somebody else. Put down your knives and walk away.”

She has tried to erase images of the stabbing by reminding herself of happy memories of him, such as the time he proposed as they watched a film.

She says: “Azaan turned to me with a Haribo ring and said, ‘will you marry me?’.

“I said, ‘yes I will – but you know I’m going to eat this ring now, don’t you?’”

Comfort has also come from growing closer to Azaan’s mum, Roseann Taylor. They jointly decided to release CCTV footage of the murder to try to prevent other knife attacks.

It will be shown Monday in Channel 4 show 24 Hours in Police Custody.

Shannon says: “It’s me and Roseann’s grief on display and people need to see it.

They need to imagine their mums or girlfriends in the same position, and they need to put down their knives.”

“Roseann, aged 47, says: “I will fight, with every fibre of my being, to make sure my son did not die in vain.”

24 Hours in Police Custody is on Channel 4 tgmorrow at 9pm. Roseann and Shannon are helping to raise money for the intensive care unit at Luton & Dunstable Hospital — visit this page .

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