THE family of Ryan Passey who was stabbed to death in a Stourbridge nightspot have told how the heartache continues six years on from the “unbelievable and unimaginable acquittal verdict” that left them without justice.

Ryan, aged 24, who played for Wren’s Nest FC in Dudley, was fatally knifed in the chest inside the former Chicago’s bar in the Ryemarket in August 2017.

His heartbroken family and friends have been fighting for justice ever since the tragedy and on February 6, 2018, after a trial at Birmingham Crown Court, they thought they would get it.

Dudley News: Happier times: Ryan Passey pictured with mum Gill TaylorHappier times: Ryan Passey pictured with mum Gill Taylor (Image: Handout)

However, their world was turned upside down further when the jury acquitted defendant Kobe Murray – clearing him of murder and manslaughter despite having listened to him tell the court he had “stabbed out” and felt bone after grabbing a knife when trouble flared inside Chicago’s.

Ryan’s family branded the not guilty verdict “perverse” and they have been on a mission to change the law and find a way of getting justice for Ryan, from Quarry Bank.

Dudley News: Ryan Passey was killed at Chicago's nightclub in Stourbridge Ryan Passey was killed at Chicago's nightclub in Stourbridge (Image: Handout)

In a statement released today to mark the sixth anniversary of the verdict, they said: “February 6 2018 was the day our world was once again shattered and turned upside down by the unbelievable and unimaginable acquittal verdict delivered by the jury at Ryan’s murder trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

“The family and other experts have been unable to understand and accept this verdict and how the criminal justice system let down Ryan - a totally innocent man who was simply enjoying a night out with his friends.

Dudley News: Ryan Passey with friend Jordan PooleRyan Passey with friend Jordan Poole (Image: Handout)

“Six years ago, when the jury acquitted Kobe Murray it was as though Ryan had been murdered all over again.”

Ryan’s parents Adrian Passey and Gill Taylor, and step dad Phil Taylor, were left in shock at the verdict, while mourning the loss of their son.

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They said: “Six years on and we are still here fighting for Justice for Ryan, a fight we hope no other parent and family will ever have to go through.

“On February 6, 2018, we made a promise on the court’s steps that we would never accept that perverse jury verdict and we would fight on for Justice for Ryan.”

They said after six long years, and with West Midlands Police having re-opened the murder investigation into Ryan’s death, they’ve started to feel listened to.

The family and their Justice For Ryan campaign group have had numerous meetings with government ministers, thanks to support from Stourbridge MP Suzanne Webb, and in November 2021 they celebrated a landmark judgement that found Kobe Murray, now known as Kareem Gayle, responsible for Ryan’s death in a civil case at Liverpool Civil and Family Court.

This week, they welcomed a fresh appeal from West Midlands Police which has released new CCTV images of two potential witnesses that detectives want to speak to about the case.

Dudley News: Police want to speak to these two men about the casePolice want to speak to these two men about the case (Image: West Midlands Police)

The family said: “To this day there are still witnesses, who may be in fear or who are friends of Kobe Murray that have not told the truth, and this continues to leave us traumatised and frustrated.

“We urge anyone who has information or has kept silent thus far to come forward and speak to the police, so the truth and the full details of what happened to Ryan can be revealed.”

Anyone with information that could help the investigation is asked to contact police via 101 or Live Chat on the website, quoting log 2313 of July 20, 2023.

Alternatively, people can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.