FACES light up at the mention of Reece Tansey’s name and broad grins break out among his family as they remember the teenager who loved a joke and adored playing pranks.

This is the 15-year-old Reece which his mum, Laura Tansey, wants people to remember – the young man who loved his extended family and was kind and loyal to those he cared about.


Reece as a toddler

Reece as a toddler


The anecdotes about the schoolboy come thick and fast – the funny TikTok videos he would make with some of his many cousins, the stuffing he always insisted on making for his grandma, Joan Tong’s roast dinners, taking his mum for a ride on his bike – but as the memories tumble out, so do the tears.

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The close-knit family will never experience them again after Reece was brutally stabbed to death in what they believe was an attempt to protect his mum and seven-year-old brother, Tyrone.


 Reece Tansey with brother Tyrone

Reece Tansey with brother Tyrone


On May 4, after a series of insults passed between Reece’s attackers and him over Snapchat, the teenagers, who can be identified only as Boy A and Boy B, sent out messages attempting to find out Reece’s address.

The pair wanted to fight Reece, who was initially reluctant. But he eventually agreed, put his computer game on pause and climbed out of a bedroom window at his Great Lever home, in the early hours of the morning, so that he did not wake his sleeping mum and brother.


Reece Tansey

Reece Tansey


His family believe he headed for Walker Avenue because he did not want the teenagers coming to his house. But within seconds of meeting his attackers, he was repeatedly stabbed and died a short time later.

“My boy got brutally taken away from us. He was in his bed and he was hounded from our home,” says Laura.

“He was forced to meet away from our home to protect me and his brother, and to stop the threats.”

The decision cost him his life and devastated his large, extended family and many friends, leading to an outpouring of grief and disbelief throughout Bolton.

Reece’s aunt, Becky Tansey, says the popular schoolboy would have been surprised by the reaction to his death among the community. But the Harper Green School pupil, who was always at the centre of any entertainment, would have enjoyed knowing people were interested in him.

Becky smiles sadly and adds: “He would have loved the attention."

Bolton-born Reece grew up in the town, attending St Michael’s CE Primary in Green Lane before moving up to Harper Green School.

“Reece enjoyed primary school, but that was to change not long after he started secondary school with Reece eventually not wanting to go to school by Year 9,” says Laura.

Despite meetings with teachers, his mum never discovered why he was so reluctant and would sometimes play truant.

Like many teenagers of his age, much of his social life revolved around keeping in touch with friends via social media and playing online games.

It was via Snapchat that his attackers, who had never met him in person, goaded him into meeting them.

“Social media and online games have a lot to answer for,” says Reece’s aunt Michelle Phillips, who believes that the violence depicted in video games and the ease with which bullies can persecute their victims online plays a big part in influencing young minds.

“It is shocking. It has ruined a generation,” she adds.

“When we were young we played out and had conversations with people but today everyone is stuck on social media, all day and night.

“We used to play out and socialise. There isn’t any of that now – it’s just bitching on social media.”

Reece’s family has begged young people to not carry knives and risk others having to endure the same heartbreak as them.

“They need to realise the consequences of their actions,” says Becky. “And the parents need to keep a close eye on their kids.”

Laura was aware of the dangers and had tried to educate Reece about them.

“Reece was still learning about life and the reality of the world,” she says.

“He had been taught about the dangers of things like not getting in strangers’ cars. We had even spoken about knife crime.

“This was one of my biggest fears as it was a regular occurrence on the news and social media about teenage boys carrying knifes and knife crime. I did not like Reece going out.”

But Laura’s worst nightmare came true the night she learned her eldest child, who had no weapon himself, had become one of knife crime’s latest victims.