The heartbroken mother of a teenager stabbed to death in Norwich has told of her family's heartache and pain at her senseless loss.

Emma Dix made the remarks in the victim statement which she read out in court at the sentencing to life imprisonment of the three men convicted of her son Joe's murder.

She has given permission for this paper to publish her statement in full...

"I'm making this victim personal statement in relation to the death of my son, Joe Dix.

Eastern Daily Press: Joe DixJoe Dix (Image: Supplied by family of Joe Dix)"The past 19 months have thrown our lives in turmoil with the tragic death of our beloved son Joe.

"It's unthinkable that a child should die before their parents.

"Joe was not sick nor did we get to say goodbye.

"He was taken from us; he was murdered.

"Joe was a lovable character, he talked to everyone, he was obsessed with Nike trainers and most of all if he liked you, he would go out of his way to help you. 

Eastern Daily Press: Joe Dix's coffinJoe Dix's coffin (Image: Submitted by family of Joe Dix)"We have been asked to write a statement about how the murder of Joe has impacted our lives.

"How can we possibly tell you how it feels as parents to not be able to protect your child and how we constantly feel like part of us is missing?

"We are a hard-working family and are left wondering ‘why us’? and 'Why did our Joe have to die from his injuries whilst others survive'?

"We feel totally cheated.

"Despite the guilty verdicts, nobody is a winner and we will never get Joe back.

Eastern Daily Press: Police at Vale Green after Joe Dix was fatally stabbedPolice at Vale Green after Joe Dix was fatally stabbed (Image: Peter Walsh, Newsquest)"Our life will never be the same, we will never get to see, hug or smell Joe again.

"Our lives past, present and in the future have changed. Joe is now a memory, he will never be here to celebrate any future special occasions, he will never get to meet his new cousin and he will never make his sister, Bethany an auntie.

"Since January this year we have spent over 10 long weeks at court. 

"Listening to the horrific details of the incident that led to Joe’s death and seeing body map images of all his injuries was dreadful.

"But nothing, compared to the shocking footage of Joe running for his life; being chased, followed by the heart-breaking scene of him collapsing.

Eastern Daily Press: Flowers left at the scene where Joe Dix was stabbed to deathFlowers left at the scene where Joe Dix was stabbed to death (Image: Newsquest)"I can’t tell you how many times these scenes have replayed over and over in our heads. 

"We're left wondering if Joe was in pain and did he know he was dying? 

"The case was trialled at court twice; double the ordeal.

"The initial five weeks of the first trial ended disappointingly without a verdict. 

"The fear of knowing that we were going to have a second trial was emotionally and mentally draining, as we knew how awful it was. 

"During the second trial we were constantly anxious with the fear that it would stop again. 

Eastern Daily Press: Joe DIxJoe DIx (Image: Submitted from family of Joe Dix)"I can’t put into words the daily battle that I have in my brain. I have never had a mental health condition but since Joe’s murder, I have been diagnosed with PTSD for which I now have to take daily medication.

"I'm unable to fall asleep naturally as I wake within minutes with a jump.

"I take sleeping tablets to allow me five hours of artificial sleep, which is generally enough to keep me going.

"I have experienced flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, lack of motivation and lack of enthusiasm.

"At my lowest I have had suicidal thoughts.

"I have kept going for my daughter Bethany.

Eastern Daily Press: Joe Dix together with his familyJoe Dix together with his family (Image: Submitted)"Personally, I have struggled to integrate back to work at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.

"I don’t want to go the place where Joe died or where we went to identify his body in the mortuary. 

"I've had extensive therapy and support to enable me to even step foot in the building without breaking down.

"It’s hard to explain the constant triggers that I face every day.

"My heart skips a beat when I see someone with the same stature as Joe.

"I get anxious around groups of teenagers. 

Eastern Daily Press: An order of service for Joe Dix's funeralAn order of service for Joe Dix's funeral (Image: Peter Walsh, Newsquest)"Simple tasks like shopping in the city are exhausting as I feel paranoid and find myself looking at people’s trouser legs to see if they are carrying a knife.

"Bethany is currently 16, she has had to experience situations and emotions that no teenager should have to deal with, whilst studying for her GSCEs.

"It has been hard to allow her to lead a normal teenage life. 

"During the first trial she was trying to remain focused as she was attending auditions around the country for dance college.

"During the second time she was trying to work and got her exam results. 

Eastern Daily Press: Ashes of Joe Dix in a replica of his coffinAshes of Joe Dix in a replica of his coffin (Image: Peter Walsh, Newsquest)"We constantly worried about letting her into Norwich, not knowing who knows her or what gang they are from.

"She has now moved more 200 miles away and she is the happiest she has been in a long time.

"We feel more relaxed that she can be herself, and is not known as the ‘girl whose brother was murdered’. 

"Phil and I dread being asked the innocent question, 'How many children do you have'? 

"Bethany dreads being asked if she has siblings. 

Eastern Daily Press: Some of Joe's ashes as well as a picture of himSome of Joe's ashes as well as a picture of him (Image: Peter Walsh, Newsquest)"We know it generally leads to more questions such as  'How old are they'? and 'What do they do'? 

"We will never get over the shock on people's faces and the silence that proceeds when we say Joe was murdered. 

"People often comment on how strong and brave we are.

"We just deal with one day at a time and focus on looking after each other.

"Inside we are broken, confused and exhausted. We are each dealing with it in different ways.

"We have suffered financially as Phil is self-employed and there have been three periods that he hasn’t been able to work.

"He feels like he has let clients down at short notice and had to painstakingly rebuild his business after each trial.

"This has caused a financial strain on us as a family.

Eastern Daily Press: A picture of a young Joe Dix in his Norwich kitA picture of a young Joe Dix in his Norwich kit (Image: Submitted by family of Joe Dix)"All our savings have been spent covering the costs of Joe's funeral and paying the household bills. 

"When we think things can’t get any worse, we have then had to deal with malicious communications through social media, including messages from people pretending to be Joe. 

"Joe's memorial garden at Vale Green was destroyed.

"There have been times when we have wondered how much more can we cope with.

"We've been served our own life sentence. We are desperately trying to make sense of what has happened."