Hannah Pool talks to Mark Prince on life after the murder of his son Kiyan

'The pain never goes away': Mark Prince on life after the murder of his son Kiyan - and his attempt to forgive the killer
Mark Prince is the father of Kiyan Prince, the 15-year-old schoolboy who was stabbed to death in May 2006 while breaking up a fight. Last week, Hannad Hasan was sentenced to life imprisonment for Kiyan's murder. A rap CD entitled Put the Knives and Guns Down will be released later this month in Kiyan's memory.

What is the CD for?

It is to raise money for the Kiyan Prince Foundation. We want to go out and help the young people and give them more opportunity. The foundation will help with parenting as well. There are a lot of young parents with problems themselves. We are doing projects to help educate them, to empower them to be more confident to deal with life.

Can you describe the last year?

I don't think there are the words. Even if I had the vocabulary I would not be able to describe what I have been though.

Have you tried to forgive Hannad Hasan?

Most definitely. At first I wanted to hurt him with every ounce of power in my body but what I found was this: it is strange the way God does things. He says, "I want you to love that person" and that does more to that person than you getting angry. If I was angry at Hannad and wanted to hurt him, he is never going to see what his actions have really done, he's just going to see me get angry. But if I show him love, love opens up areas that hate can't and I believe that by doing that, Hannad might have an opportunity to do something with his life, to change his life. Because of the belief that I have, no matter how that makes me feel, I am determined to do the right thing.

Have you ever spoken to him?

No, but I believe that I will.

What would you say?

How do you feel? What has gone on inside you? What is happening inside you now? What is it like to take a precious life? Where do you go from there? By talking to him I could understand him a bit more. If he is going to be open and truthful, maybe I can give him some help in turning things around. He certainly won't be rehabilitated inside jail - that's not going to happen.

Do you ever think back to the day when you got the call?

Yes. I used to get really, really bad panic attacks. One time I had to go to the hospital because my heart was actually hurting me, but they said there was nothing wrong, and that was the first time I realised what this was about. At one time I couldn't look at Kiyan's picture. Every time I looked I got a panic attack.

Is knife and gun crime taken seriously enough?

Not by the government. By the people on the streets it is. It's affecting them, but we don't hear about the many small cases where kids get knives pulled out on them, where people are intimidated by young people on the bus.

What do you think of the phrase "black on black crime"?

It's a load of rubbish. It's a people thing. These kids on the street, they've got parents who are in trouble - smoked out, cracked out, coming in at any old time. There is no structure.

Is there a crisis within the black community?

There is a crisis in the community at large, and people need to stop trying to label it black. If I went into a community where it's predominantly white, are you going to call it white-on-white crime? Let's try and keep it real. We want to empower people so they don't have all this fear in their minds. Kiyan was always looking to help people. He was a loving kid, he was doing great in school, he got great academic achievements.

In your darkest moments, what goes through your mind?

In my darkest moments I miss Kiyan so bad - the pain inside my belly, I cannot describe it. People don't realise that it never goes away. It doesn't get any better. I miss not being able to see Kiyan, chat with him, hear him laugh. He taught people so much in his 15 years, and when he left he taught them even more in his passing. He has carved out my purpose. He said, "Look, Dad, this is what I want you to do now, this is how I want you to live now." I can't thank him enough for that. He has made my life worth living - this is the thing I was made to do and Kiyan has allowed that to happen. I have my part to play and all I have to do is get up. Get up, Dad.

· For information, go to kiyanprince.org


Hannah Pool

The GuardianTramp

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