Motorcyclists ride in memory of Ryan Passey five years after nightclub killing

Hundreds of motorbikes took to the streets of the Black Country today in memory of Ryan Passey on the fifth anniversary of his death.

Ryan's family with hundreds of bikers at The Widders pub
Ryan's family with hundreds of bikers at The Widders pub

The sun blazed down on the crowds who came out to celebrate the life of the 24-year-old footballer, who was stabbed to death while out with friends at a Stourbridge nightclub in 2017.

Over a hundred riders set off from The Widders, on Barrack Lane in Cradley, towards Stourbridge High Street, where they went past the former Chicago’s nightclub where Ryan was killed.

They also completed five laps of the Stourbridge ring road to mark five years since Ryan's death.

On the fourth lap, they cut into the high street, blasting their horns as loudly as they could at the site where Ryan died.

Ryan's parents, Gillian Taylor and Ade Passey, both rode on the back of motorcycles in shirts dedicated to their son, laying flowers outside the Chicago's nightclub at Ryan's memorial.

Ryan's family were delighted so many people turned out in his memory

The convoy carried on to Quatt Bike Café in Bridgnorth, before the crowds returned to The Widders for a fun day which included a DJ, a bouncy castle and live music.

Donations were collected along the way to raise awareness of knife crime.

It was particularly special for the community as it has been three years since the last Ride for Ryan due to the pandemic.

Ryan's mother, Gillian, said: "Last time it was tremendous and this time I think it's even better. It's a lovely turnout - it's quite overwhelming.

"There are people who, because of this event, they've gone out and bought a bike.

This year was the first time the event had been held since 2019

"John Hill (from The Widders) organised this, we've been friends with him for years - Ade used to work with him and he does a lot of charity events for other people as well.

"He just thought it'd be a nice gesture because we were trying to raise some money for the court costs and everything - but it's not all about that now. It's about the memory of Ryan.

"In the pandemic, it all stopped, we couldn't do anything, but his memory's always there. I don't have to do anything, for me anyway, to remember him.

"It does upset me actually, I do get really overwhelmed how many people turn up."

Gillian added: "It's not really going to help us, it's going to help the next person. We just want to create the awareness of the justice system and how it's failed us. It's for the next family, to help them more so than us.

"Nothing we do is going to bring him back."

Ryan Passey

Family friend Jason Connon, who had coached Ryan at football and acts as a spokesman for the family, said: "It's just amazing. They (the bikers) always turn out for Ryan, whenever we put out the call to do any kind of fundraising event.

"Today marks five very hard, painful years for Gill, Phil, Ade, and the family of Ryan, and we're all here to support them and remember Ryan.

"Today is about remembering Ryan and keeping his memory alive for the family. It's a difficult day. He's very much in everyone's thoughts.

"People need to understand the devastation caused from knife crime. Ryan went out with his best friend and never came home because somebody decided to use a knife.

"This is the devastating impact from that. Our campaign is #PutTheKnifeDown because it just causes absolute misery for families.

Donations were collected along the way to raise awareness of knife crime

"Something needs to be done. Our campaign all along has not just been about justice for Ryan, but really it's about tackling knife crime and getting the message out there, because it's not working.

"The numbers speak for themselves. Children are carrying knives like they carry mobile phones, with deathly consequences. Don't take it out in the first place.

"Our argument is, they need to tighten up the laws around self-defence with knife crime.

"Because it's illegal to carry a knife in the first place, so that is a crime. But then to be able to stand up in court and say you used that knife in self defence - we're saying you shouldn't be able to use that as a defence.

"Maybe that would encourage people, if they knew they couldn't use self defence in court, not to take a knife out."

Jason went on to address the crowds of supporters with updates on their battle to get justice for Ryan.

Ryan's mother Gillian Taylor was at the event

He said: "We have come a long way in our fight for justice and will never rest until justice is finally served for Ryan.

"Last November we won our civil case and we currently have West Yorkshire Police reviewing the original police investigation and we'll be meeting them again in September for a further update.

"We recently travelled to Parliament to meet with the Justice Minister and also got chance to meet with the Prime Minister, before Ade got him sacked.

"And we have several other things going on at the moment. Unfortunately, we're not able to disclose them publicly, but believe me, the fight is still going on."

The bikers rode to Bridgnorth and back

Ride for Ryan started in 2018 in memory of the footballer who was stabbed to death on August 6, 2017, during a dance floor brawl in Chicago's.

Six months later a trial lasting eight days took place at Birmingham Crown Court.

The jury heard that Kobe Murray, who was 19 at the time, admit to stabbing unarmed Ryan through the heart with a flick knife.

Murray told the court the stabbing was an "accident" and that he had acted in self-defence while holding a weapon he had taken from a friend.

Motorcyclists taking part in Ride for Ryan, in memory of Ryan Passey, on the ring road at Stourbridge

Despite the trial exposing how he had lied to police, he walked free from court after being acquitted of both murder and manslaughter.

The verdict shocked Ryan's devastated family and friends, and sparked a campaign for justice that goes on to the day.

The past 12 months has seen a number of significant developments in their battle.

After pushing for more than a year, the campaign succeeded in getting West Midlands Police to agree to an independent review into the initial investigation of Ryan's death.

A plaque in memory of Ryan was unveiled at the former Chicago's nightclub in Stourbridge in 2019

The review, which is being handled by West Yorkshire Police, is ongoing, and an update is expected in the coming weeks.

Another significant move saw Ryan's family win a civil case against Kobe Murray, who is now known as Kareem Gayle, after they pursued legal action claiming the 24-year-old had been unlawfully killed.

A judge at Liverpool Civil and Family Court agreed, and awarded almost £10,000 in damages, and also ruled the defendant must pay more than £12,000 in court costs.

The family has recently contacted the High Court to instruct court bailiffs to collect the damages.

They also recently hit a milestone in their bid for greater support to victims in serious crime cases where an acquittal verdict is given.

After putting their demands to a minister following an intervention by Stourbridge MP Suzanne Webb, who is backing their campaign, they met with Prime Minister Boris Johnson to discuss the campaign.

Nothing will bring back Ryan, but the streets of the Black Country were filled today will people determined to keep his memory alive and fight for justice.

Organiser John Hill from The Widders pub concluded: "The sun is shining and Ryan's looking down on us."

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