The father of 22-year-old stab victim Leo Marcus has branded the jail sentence handed out for his murder "an insult," stating that he is "disheartened" by the recent surge in knife crime.

Leo Marcus was stabbed six times by 19-year-old Shackim Purnell-Taylor in July 2019 after an attempted daylight robbery in an alleyway in Woolwich went wrong.

Earlier this month, Purnell-Taylor was convicted of murder by a jury at the Old Bailey and on Wednesday last week he was given a life sentence with a minimum 22 year's imprisonment.

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Following the sentencing, News Shopper spoke to Cliff Marcus, the father of Leo, who has been a fervent campaigner for stricter knife crime laws since the incident.

"My son fought for his life and lost," Mr Marcus said.

"It's hard to understand, to comprehend, as we've never had something like this before.

"I can't even say the man's name. Several times I had to walk out of court after having to listen to the defence try to implicate Leo and make him (Purnell-Taylor) out as the victim.

"My son knew right from wrong, but he has clearly never been held responsible for anything in his life," Mr Marcus continued.

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"Around 45 of us packed out the public gallery when the sentencing was read out. Twenty two years is a long time, and there is no doubt that some justice has been served, but we all felt so disheartened."

He said that Judge Rebecca Poulet, QC, first announced a 30-year minimum sentence, but due to extenuating circumstances this was reportedly lowered to 22 years, whilst jail time for his other offences, including robbery and knife possession, will run concurrently.

Mr Marcus said: "The sentencing is an insult, it's a year in jail for every year Leo was alive. It cuts to the bone knowing that I'll likely still be around when he is released."

"I just don't believe he's deserving of that sentence, not after he stood there in court and told lie after lie after lie."

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Mr Marcus was full of praise for the police, from the officers who found his son to the ones who kept him posted throughout the trial.

"The police were brilliant throughout, the Crown Prosecution Service too, it was the judge that let us down.

"What I don't understand is all the other sentences he's been given for other offences, he won't serve them because he was given the 22-year sentence. Where's the deterrent, why even charge him for the rest?"

Reflecting on his son, Mr Marcus said: "Leo is gone, there's nothing I can do that will change that. Of course it will never be over, nothing like this ever goes away.

"I have a photo of him and his cheeky grin above my fireplace, so he's here, but I know he's never going to walk through my door again.

"He's not going to see his niece grow up, his brothers turn into men, or get married and have his own family. Where's the justice in that?"

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Back in July, a family friend set up a fundraiser page to cover the costs of Leo's funeral which reached over £4,000.

Cliff then decided to start a petition, urging the government to introduce a two-year minimum sentence for carrying a knife.

He said he had "heard so many excuses since Leo died as to why people carry knives, it enrages me."

The petition received huge public backing, reaching 75,000 signatures, but it was cut short three quarters of the way to the 100,000 requirement to be considering for a debate in Parliament after the General Election was announced.

READ MORE: 'Someone has to die for people to listen': Father of Kidbrooke stab victim appeals for knife crime reform

All petitions have been halted whilst the election took place and are now waiting for a new Petitions Committee to be set up, and whilst he would to start from zero, Cliff Marcus is still eager to restart the petition and change the laws regarding knife possession.

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"The first thing I do when I wake up every day is check if the petition page is open," he added.

"This is what we're fighting for now, the brothers and grandparents... this is all we have to fight for.

"Sentencing laws need to change. What kind of society are we living in?

"It will happen again, someone will be stood in my shoes unnecessarily. But it is my hope that hopefully it won't be for the same the reason, and if it is, it'll be far fewer people going through what I've gone through."