How we forgave my son's vicious killer: Parents whose teenage boy was beaten to death by thugs come face-to-face with offenders
Sep 17, 2012
In a meeting arranged by the Restorative Justice programme and mediators at the charity CALM (Confidential And Local Mediation), the couple met with two of the three perpetrators responsible for the crime when they came to the end of their sentences.
And in a moment of heart-wrenching humanity that brings tears to the eyes, Ray says that when one of the offenders entered the room, all he wanted to do was hug him.
'I held my hands out to him and he came to me and hugged me,' Ray says.
'He grabbed hold of me and wouldn't let go. He cried and cried,' Ray says. 'As I cuddled him, he whispered "I'm sorry" in my ear.
'Then he turned to Vi and said simply, "May I?" Vi nodded, and he went to hug her too. He said "sorry," again and again.'
'We said "I forgive you".
One of the offenders admitted to the Donovans that for the first two years of his eight year sentence, he didn't spare a thought for the victims of his crimes.
But after he took part in a Victim Awareness course in prison, he says he couldn't get Chris out of his 'head and heart' and he felt an urgent need to apologise to the Donovans.
'He told us that he’d been a 15-year-old coward. He acknowledged he'd kicked Chris then left him in the road and run away.
'That was something we'd waited ten years to hear. He wasn’t at all the person we’d expected to see.'