'I will never forgive you' - Mother of man killed in Morrisons attack tells of heartbreak
PUBLISHED: 16:29 02 February 2018 | UPDATED: 08:23 04 February 2018
Before Nick Rogers'killer, Lee Monk, was sentenced to 11 years for manslaughter at Norwich Crown Court, his mother Susan Rogers told of the heartbreak she and her family had endured following the death of her son. Here is her emotional statement:
“Monday 17th July 2017 was just another normal day for me. It holds a memory of my son that will stay with me forever, thank God, as it is the only memory of that day that was lovely.
“It had been a perfect summer’s day. I was in the garden, enjoying a glass of wine with my best friend, when Nick came and joined us, shortly after also being joined by his best friend Leo and another friend, Richard. We were all laughing and joking. It must have been for around ten to fifteen minutes. The boys were all in good moods; just chatting and bantering with us and each other.
“Nick told me he and Leo were going to the gym - and we said good bye. Just as he was leaving Nick popped his head over the fence and asked would I please wash his T-Shirt and dry it ready for him after the gym. I called him a “cheeky sod.” He smiled at me. “Please Mum… go on.” Those were his last words to me. I so wish I had known what was about to happen and tried to delay him because, In the blink of an eye, my whole world would be turned upside down.
“I don’t recall the exact time, but sometime later that evening, the phone rang. I picked it up and instantly my blood ran cold. It was Nick’s best friend Leo sobbing down the phone. He wasn’t making sense, but I knew something devastating had happened. I could hear it in his voice. All Leo could say was; “It’s Nick. I keep on rubbing his belly and he’s not waking up”. I screamed down the phone at him and said; “Where are you?” He said; “Morrison’s” at which point I dropped the phone. My heart felt as if it had been torn from my body. My other children; Nicks younger Brother and Sister, Hope and Cameron just kept saying; “What’s happened Mum?” I said; “It’s Nick. I have to go.” Just the look on their faces was heart breaking.
“Getting into car with my husband Andy, we travelled the short distance from our home address to Morrison’s. As we turned the corner into the supermarket car park all I could see were police cars, an ambulance and the air ambulance. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It looked like a film set. I felt sick and felt like I couldn’t breathe. Jumping out of the car I left Andy and ran straight into the store. I SO wasn’t ready for what I was about to see. As I looked to my left I saw my son Nick lying motionless on the shop floor and receiving CPR from a Paramedic. Immediately next to Nick was Leo, who was sobbing uncontrollably and rolled up in a ball on the floor. I ran towards them both, screaming; “Nick… Nick…”
“I was frantic. A police officer tried to restrain me, but no matter what, I was determined I was going be with my son. I needed to be with him, to hold him and tell him I loved him. I never got to do any of that as the Police kept saying; “It’s a crime scene.” I remember a paramedic saying; “Let her sit by the tap.” All I could do was hold on to my son’s foot and tell him he would be OK. He was lying there life-less, still, white in colour and his eyes wide open.
“I knew then, as I know now, that my beautiful boy died right there on that cold supermarket floor. I have no doubt that people did their very best to save Nick, but I watched as his life faded away right in front of me. My brain just couldn’t process what I was seeing and I couldn’t take it in. “Arriving at the hospital with Andy, our worst fears as parents were confirmed. A doctor came out to tell us that a scan of Nick’s head had been done and that unfortunately his brain had died. Leo was with us and he just ran out screaming. He was in a terrible state. We found him lying on the floor in the hospital grounds with all of Nicks other friends - who were also falling apart. I just couldn’t take it all in. Hours passed till I saw my son again, the next time would be in the Intensive Care Unit.
“Walking down the hallway to where he was seemed to take forever. Two police officers were sitting just outside the curtain and as the nurse pulled back the curtain I saw my boy, lying attached to so much equipment with breathing tubes. There were wires everywhere. I just wanted to put my arms around and I couldn’t stop crying. Andy was holding his hand. It was as if it was a horrific dream. I lay all night with Nick, stroking his head and crying nonstop just telling myself this just can’t be real, this happens to other people - not my family.
“Taking his brother and sister to see him was the most devastating thing I have ever had to do. They were so brave. Pulling back the curtain was hard. Showing them what Nicholas had endured. It still breaks my heart seeing them with him, sobbing, holding his hands and stroking his face and telling him they loved him. They said their goodbyes to their brother in a dignified manner. That same day, as a family, we agreed to donate Nick’s organs in a hope he could save some one else’s life and they could go on and live the life with was taken from him.
“On Wednesday 19th July, knowing I only had a short time left before they removed his organs for donation; the nurse gave me a short time with my boy. It was just me and him. In this time I washed him, brushed his hair and closed his eyes for the last time. I told him I loved him so so much and would miss him every day of my life. When the time came Andy and I walked the short way to theatre. I held his hand till we got to the doors and at that moment I said my goodbyes. I knew was never going to see my son again. This moment was truly heart breaking.
“Ten weeks passed until we were finally able to get Nick’s body back from the hospital, then having to arrange his funeral, - again just so traumatic. Friends and family came and signed his casket and placed photos of their previous times shared with Nick. He would have been so happy to see the beautiful things friends and family had written about him; even people from the local community came to pay their respects. So many people turned out for my boy. They were all so dignified, respectful and they all did my boy proud that day. That memory will last forever.
“Lee, hand on heart, I did not kill my son, YOU did. All I ever did was love and cherish him. Myself and Andy have sat through this trial and listened to what you have had to say and, trust me, I have sat and heard every word. Over and over again you said that Nick was your friend.
“As Nicks mum, I’d like the opportunity to set the record straight on that. I have many friends and you don’t get to call Nick your friend. Friends have each other, appreciate each other, share the good and bad times with each other. You made his life a misery. Friends don’t do that. Friends don’t go into a supermarket and unleash Armageddon on someone they call their friend. You have taken one of my most prised possessions, my first born child. You have broken me and my family in a way for which I can never forgive you.
“I’ll never get to see my son grow old, fall in love, marry, have a family or give me grandchildren. His brother and sister will never have their older brother to see them grow up, graduate, share family times, birthdays and Christmas celebrations.
“All I can say is the law is the law. Neither I, nor you have no control over this process. I did not kill Nicholas that day, I did not arrest you, I did not set this trial and I do not deliver your verdict. But from this day forward don’t cry for me and do not say Nick was your friend. You mean nothing to me and never will. I will never, to the day I die, forgive you for what you did. You have ruined my life and have taken something from me I can never get back. You also have to live with that.
“I always thought that line about a Mother ‘should never outlive her children’ was a bit of a cliché. Sadly, it turns out its true. As yet, I’m not quite sure how we’ll do it, but our family will have to try and rebuild and make a new life without Nick in it. And that’s the problem how does a family even start to do that?”