'It's pain every day': Yorkshire mother's heartbreak after son's horrific murder
Ryan Theobald, 20 and friend Janis Kozlovskis, 17 were both killed when violence flared in Doncaster city centre on a night out nearly two years ago.
Amrit Jhagra, 19, was jailed for 26 years for the double murder - and Ryan’s mother Lisa has bravely spoken about his killing as part of South Yorkshire Police's Operation Sceptre project – which aims to end knife crime as the second anniversary of his death nears.
In an emotional inteview, she said: “I haven’t come to terms with it yet. It’s pain every day – and it is a physical pain.
"His birthday is in December and then we’ve got Christmas and then the anniversary. I hate calling it the anniversary.
"But we’ll go and flowers at the tree in town where he died and we’ll lay some for Janis as well.”
Lisa world was turned upside down when she lost her only son when violence erupted in Silver Street on the night of January 29, 2022.
She said: “Ryan was my middle child, my only son, he was a cheeky chappy, a good friend and very protective over me and his sisters.
"He’d do anything for us. He was funny, he’d stick up for his friends when he needed to. We were very close. He was a mummy’s boy definitely, and I did everything for him.”
Speaking of the hours leading up to the murder, she said: “I dropped him off at Janis’s at 3.30 in the afternoon and it was his day off work.
"I said to him ‘don’t be going out because you have got work tomorrow’ and he said ‘no, I won’t be home late.’
The tragic events unfolded as the pair left CoCo bar in Silver Street at around 2.30am.
A fight began between Janis and a friend of Jhagra which carried on and saw Ryan also embroiled in the violence.
As they reached the corner of Silver Street and High Street, Ryan was stabbed by Jhagra who plunged a knife into his heart and left him lying in the street.
He then turned his attentions to Janis, chasing him down the street, pulling him to the ground and stabbing him multiple times before fleeing the scene.
Emergency services were called by members of the public, but despite the best efforts of officers and paramedics, Ryan was pronounced dead at the scene and Janis died in hospital a short time later.
A post-mortem examination revealed Ryan died of a single stab wound, and Janis died of multiple stab wounds. Another 18-year-old was also stabbed in the incident and taken to hospital.
Jhagra fled to a nearby Premier Inn hotel following the incident, before travelling via taxi to a friend’s house and then going on the run.
Throughout this trial, Jhagra claimed that he acted in self-defence of his friend.
But police said Jhagra went out that evening in possession of a knife and went on to use it to stab not just one but two people.
He pleaded not guilty, claiming he had acted in self-defence, using a bike multi-tool and saying: “I was scared for my life.”
Jhagra told police there had been a feud over areas and there had been previous fights and someone had previously tried to stab him and he had been beaten up.
Ryan, a former Bessacarr FC and Doncaster Rovers Academy player and Janis, were remembered with a charity football match as well as huge balloon release and memorial in Doncaster's Elmfield Park.
In the wake of the tragedy, more than £7,000 was raised for the pair – while police promised to step up security on the town’s night life scene with an increased presence of officers and knife arch operations.
A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “Ryan went on a night out with a friend in Doncaster and never came home after being stabbed to death in a brutal attack.
“Every day, Lisa must live with the pain of knowing her son is no longer with her and will never fulfil his dreams and ambitions.”