The mother of a 23-year-old footballer stabbed to death in a Birmingham nightclub has told Sky News her “life sentence” started on Boxing Day, the day her son was killed.
The family of Cody Fisher were among hundreds who watched his football team, Stratford Town, play its first game since his death – with emotional tributes throughout the match.
In an exclusive interview, his mother and father Tracey and Chris Fisher and uncle Danny Norman said they had been “totally overwhelmed” by the support of the club, players and friends.
“I’m just so proud, so, so proud that he was just an inspiration to so many people,” said Mrs Fisher. “He was just an amazing, amazing child, baby, lad – it’s beyond words and beyond cruel.”
He had “the purest, purest soul – just my absolute angel,” she added.
“My life sentence started on Boxing Day. When I got that call, I got there, and it was too late. To make that journey to Birmingham seemed forever and to get there and not even make it in time because he’d already died by the time I’d got there – there’s just no words.”
Cody’s father said he’d been left “broken” – and paid tribute to his friends and fellow players.
He said: “They’re his mates. He [Cody] was the life and soul of the party. All of the stuff he’s done outweighs what has happened.”
Mr Norman paid his tribute, saying all the family were proud of Cody.
“We idolised him. As his uncle, my wife and kids idolised Cody, we loved him to bits,” he said.
“He’s just such a lovely, lovely character and a lovely kid – and to be taken away from us is just so unfair. He’d be looking down now and be so happy and proud and I think this could have been the best tribute that could have happened.”
Before Saturday’s game, around 50 children from St Gregory’s Catholic Primary School – where Cody coached football – formed a guard of honour on the pitch before a minute’s silence.
Twenty-three minutes into the game, to mark Cody’s age, players paused for a one-minute round of applause.
Mrs Fisher said: “To have inspired so many people at such a young age, the love for him, as his mother, is just the most special… it’s just going to be my comfort. I don’t know how I get on from here or move on. As I say, my life sentence has started now. It will never be easy, never, ever, ever.”
Two men have been charged with Cody’s murder.
Kami Carpenter, 21, and Remy Gordon, 22 are due to stand trial in July.