by Tom Martin (September 2020)

TRIBUTES have been paid to a Crosby man who was stabbed to death during a series of knife attacks in Birmingham.

Jacob Billington, 23, was killed at around 2am on Sunday, September 6 after enjoying a school reunion with five other friends.

Seven other people were injured at four locations in the city centre over a period of 90 minutes in what police have described as “random attacks”.

A 27-year-old man was later arrested on suspicion of murder and attempted murder. Jacob’s friend, Michael Callaghan, 23, also from Crosby, was attacked and remains in a critical condition in hospital at the time the Champion went to print.

The group of Crosby friends had been on a night out and were attacked as they walked through the city centre, near to their hotel.

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In a statement, Jacob’s family said: “Jacob was the light of our life and we have been devastated by his loss.

“He was a funny, caring and wonderful person who was loved by every single person he met.

“He lit up every room with his boundless energy and witty humour and the loss of such a special person will be felt by all who knew him for years to come.”

Jacob and Michael had been friends after attending Great Crosby Primary School and Sacred Heart Catholic College.

They then attended university together in Sheffield and formed a band, The Vedetts, along with some other friends.

Jacob had been working at Sheffield Hallam University while Michael, an engineering graduate, had recently started a job with the NHS in Merseyside.

A tribute issued by Sacred Heart Catholic College on Monday, September 7 read: “We are saddened at the events in Birmingham which took Jacob’s life and left Michael critically injured. The staff gathered this evening to pray for them and their families. We are praying for Michael’s recovery and will never forget Jacob, his life touched so many in our school.”

A tribute from Great Crosby Primary School stated: “Please keep the families of everyone involved in the devastating events in Birmingham in your prayers, particularly the families of our former pupils.”

Ch Supt Steve Graham of West Midlands Police said: “Our thoughts and sympathies are with Jacob’s family and friends after receiving such shocking news, particularly for those who were sharing their night out with him.

“It’s utterly shocking that a friends’ reunion should end so brutally.

“Equally the families of the other victims have been left devastated by the events of Sunday morning and we are working hard to discover what led to the apparently random attacks.”

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