Around 400 people attended a vigil last week held for teenager Erick Maina, 15, who was found hanged two weeks ago in what appears to have been a suicide death. Maina had posted “Bye” on his Facebook account just hours before he was found dead.
The teenage boy, born in Kenya, was found dead in Fazakerley, Liverpool on 15 November.
The large crowd who attended the vigil, held at Field Lane Park, Fazakerley, released lanterns in honour of Erick.
Lanterns were released to commemorate Erick
All of those who knew the teenager were full of nothing but praise of his character and kind-hearted nature.
Joe Maguire, a friend of the teenager who helped organise the vigil, said: “Erick was the nicest, most caring lad I’ve ever known. He put everyone before himself. From the first day he came from Kenya to the last day here, he was always there for me.”
School friend Hollie Nelson said, “It still doesn’t feel real that my best friend is gone and I will never see his beautiful face again. […] But I will always member the memories we shared and I’ll never forget him, always will be in my heart.”
Erick’s parents, Jane and Stephen, paid an emotional tribute to their son, who they described as “our baby and our best friend and we miss him greatly.” They continued, “He inspired us and we are grateful of the time we had with him and the experiences we shared as a family. […] He was an unselfish boy who was popular with everyone and we’ve been overwhelmed with the support from across the community.”
The event helped raise money for Marie Curie, a charity which Erick had supported by shaving off his afro twice to raise hundreds of pound. It also helped raise money for a campaign launched by the teenager’s church, Temple of Praise in Anfield, to help his distraught relatives in Nairobi to fly to the UK to attend his funeral.
Adding to the pain caused by the boy’s suicide was the racist graffiti mocking his death which was sprayed near his school – Maricourt Catholic High School – in Maghull.
Two teenagers have since admitted to painting the graffiti, which included the word “n****r”, a Nazi swastika and a reference to the Ku Klux Klan.
James Coleman, 18, from Buckfast Close, Netherton, and a 17-year-old, who cannot be named, from Bootle, were caught on CCTV at the school and also witnessed buying white paint and a paint brush at a local shop.
The pair, who admitted racially aggravated criminal damage, will be sentenced in December.