‘There are no bad kids. Just kids making bad choices’: the campaigner battling youth knife crime | Guardian angel

Once both a victim and a perpetrator, Mark Bracewell is now devoted to giving kids an alternative to the life that almost cost him everything

If you made a film of Mark Bracewell’s life, audiences would probably look on sceptically and think: “That’s a bit extreme.”

Bracewell grew up on an estate in Moss Side, Manchester, in the 1980s. When he was 13, he watched members of a gang hack a man to death in a pub with a machete. The following year, his friend Benjamin was murdered in a takeaway. The killers were never found. Bracewell thinks it was probably a case of mistaken identity. He was with Benjamin on the day he died. He found out about his murder on the news. “We were kids,” says Bracewell, who is now 44 and lives in Stoke-on-Trent. “But we were living in a war zone.”

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