Tyson Fury has told of his grief and anger after cousin Rico Burton become the latest victim a raging knife crime epidemic in the UK.
The boxing legend demanded a crackdown on thugs who carry blades by imposing tougher sentences.
Rico, 31, was stabbed to death outside a bar in Manchester in the early hours of yesterday after a night out. A pal was also attacked and seriously injured.
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Two men, aged 20 and 21, have been arrested on suspicion of murder and causing GBH with intent.
Tyson, 34 – who is in Majorca – said yesterday: “My cousin was murdered last night, stabbed in the neck, this is becoming ridiculous idiots carry knives.
“This needs to stop. ASAP. UK government needs to bring in higher sentencing for knife crime, it’s a pandemic. You don’t know how bad it is until it’s one of your own.
“Life is very precious and it can be taken away very quick. Enjoy every moment. RIP Rico Burton.”
Former boxer Rico, who used to spar with Tyson, was stabbed in Altrincham, Greater Manchester, at around 3am, along with a 17-year-old who was last night in hospital.
One witness said: “A few men were arguing outside then suddenly two men were on the ground.
“It happened so fast but no one knows what caused the fight.”
Rico and Tyson’s ex-coach Steve Egan last night paid tribute to the victim, who won two national titles fighting as a junior before becoming a roofer and builder.
The 60-year-old said: “He’s a lovely lad. I’m devastated. I’ve known him and his brother since he was 13.
“What a talent. He was hard working and had a great sense of humour.
“What’s happened is just awful. If you carry a knife you should get five years for just having it in your pocket.”
Greater Manchester Police Superintendent Ben Ewart branded Rico’s death “senseless”. He said: “Everything suggests that Mr Burton was enjoying an evening out with friends, and this has taken place spontaneously and unplanned. It’s a very tragic ending to what should have been a good night out with friends.”
UK Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said last night: “Knife crime is destroying lives and devastating families. It is becoming a national crisis.
“The Government’s Serious Violence Strategy hasn’t been updated in four years even though we are seeing stabbings going up. We need urgent action before this gets worse and more lives are lost.”
Lib Dem MP Alistair Carmichael branded Boris Johnson’s legacy on knife crime an “appalling failure”.
The UK Home Office insisted that while judges decide sentences, criminals caught with blades “are more likely to be sent to jail than they were a decade ago”. It added: “New laws mean more repeat offenders face time behind bars.”
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