‘I don’t know the man but I forgive him’ – Police chief who forgave terrorist for murdering his son set to speak at Christchurch Baldock service in Letchworth

Police chief Robin Oake publicly forgave the terrorist who killed his son Stephen Oake in 2003, and

Police chief Robin Oake publicly forgave the terrorist who killed his son Stephen Oake in 2003, and published the book Father Forgive in 2008. - Credit: Archant

Forgiveness is to be discussed in Letchworth next weekend by a former police chief who had his only son stabbed to death by a terrorist – then shocked the nation by saying he forgave the killer.

Author and speaker Robin Oake was chief constable of the Isle of Man in 2003 when his son Stephen, an anti-terror detective, was killed during an operation in Manchester.

And at a press conference the next day he told the world: “I don’t know the man or the circumstances of the operation but from the bottom of my heart I forgive him.”

Robin, who subsequently wrote a book articulating his thoughts called Father Forgive – published in 2008 – will speak at Christchurch Baldock’s 6pm service on Sunday, October 30, at the Letchworth Free Church hall.

In Father Forgive he weaves his experiences together with biblical commentary to explain how he feels able to forgive what many would call unforgivable. He focuses more on his own life story and police career in his second book With God on the Streets, which came out in 2009, and 2015’s The Power of Powerlessness.


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Robin told the Comet on Wednesday: “In Letchworth I will recount many police stories – often with humour – as well as mentioning Steve’s murder and what has happened since.”

Stephen’s killer, an Algerian called Kamel Bourgass, is serving life for his murder, and was also convicted in 2005 of plotting to attack the London Underground with ricin poison.

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Christchurch Baldock minister Chris Jenkins said: “Forgiveness is a very difficult issue for all of us.

“We find it hard to let go of those little annoyances we all experience. Some people have much more to forgive – abuse, neglect, trauma.

“I’m not in a position to tell others what to do. However, Robin Oake’s example of forgiving his son’s murderer is an inspiring example.”

For more about Christchurch see christchurchbaldock.org.uk.

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