Jordan Mackay’s family open up on senseless killing

Jordan Mackay's mum Liz at the blood donor session organised in his memory. Picture: Julie Bull

Jordan Mackay's mum Liz at the blood donor session organised in his memory. Picture: Julie Bull

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Dozens of sympathy cards remain on display, flanked by framed photographs of a beaming smile which means so much.

At every turn in the family home, there is a reminder of the promising future that lay ahead of young Jordan Mackay – as those left behind struggle to cope with their loss.

Jordan MacKay. Picture: Contributed

Jordan MacKay. Picture: Contributed

Almost a year on, the pain is still as raw as the day the 20-year-old joiner was stabbed in a senseless and random attack while out with his childhood sweetheart Nicole.

Life changed forever for the close-knit Mackay family on July 13 last year, when Jordan went out for a beer in South Queensferry and never came home. He was knifed by Jack Mallon in an unprovoked attack orchestrated by Mallon’s ex-girlfriend, Charlene Wilson.

The pair were jailed following a trial earlier this year, but for Jordan’s family and friends, the anguish continues.

Now, speaking publicly for the first time since the tragedy, his mum Lizzie says life had become “robotic” for the Kirkliston family.

‘I’d say to him, see you later, watch how you go’

Fighting back tears as she spoke to the News, the 55-year-old says: “You don’t think about tomorrow, you just get up and do today. We just get through the day. There’s no pleasure or fun, nothing makes you happy.”

Lizzie and her husband Ian each already had a daughter from previous relationships when Jordan was born – an arrival which “made them the family they are”, according to sisters Louise Severtson and Jill Liddle.

The girls – who chose his name – were 13 and 11 when they were gifted a little brother, and often share memories of taking him out in his pram and playing games as he grew up.

A doting uncle to his nieces and nephew, Jordan will never meet pregnant Louise’s third child, a situation she describes as “unthinkable”.

With his kind-hearted nature and good sense of humour, Jordan was a popular boy as he progressed through Kirkliston Primary and South Queensferry High.

And it was at secondary school that his striking looks caught the attention of Nicole McKay – the childhood sweetheart who seemed destined to become his wife.

“His second home was South Queensferry,” Lizzie says, bracing herself to the tell the story of that fateful night last summer. “You never stop worrying about your children, but his friends were in South Queensferry, he went to school there, stayed with Jill there, Nicole was from there, he was safe. We always thought, he’s just down the ‘Ferry.”

Dad Ian says the family has struggled to comprehend the utter senslessness and randomness of the incident.

“I always said to him, ‘see you later, watch how you go’,” he says. “That night, I never said that to him.

“It would have been different if Jordan had played a part, or had caused an accident, or even had an illness… but he was completely separate.”

The tragedy sent a “ripple effect” through the close-knit communities of Kirkliston and South Queensferry, and the Mackay family were overwhelmed with the support they received.

As the first anniversary of Jordan’s death looms, the family admit they’re struggling to know how to approach it.

“It still feels so real and raw,” explains Ian, who adds that he still feels a “sense of guilt” if he is doing something enjoyable.

Jill adds: “It’s not a day to remember him more than usual – it’s every day.”

They are still considering ideas for a tribute to Jordan, financed by a memorial fund set up by local woman Karen Hogg. The family walked across the Forth Road Bridge 21 times on February 28, which would have been Jordan’s 21st birthday.

This event raised £6105, while Jordan’s schoolfriends have clubbed together to create a plaque in his memory.

The only time Jordan’s heartbroken family find they can really smile is when they share memories of his practical jokes, his dedication to his job at K Construction, his enthusiasm to try new hobbies, and the modest and likeable personality which won so many friends.

Jordan and close friend Jamie Walsh were dedicated members of Gym 64 at Dunfermline, but Jamie has been unable to return since Jordan’s death.

His other best friend, Andy Summers, fulfilled an ambition of becoming a personal trainer after Jordan encouraged him to pursue it. Lizzie has now joined the gym in her own tribute to Jordan.

Among the overwhelming number of floral tributes was a message from an unknown friend, who simply wrote: “I couldn’t have got through ­college without you.”

Lizzie says: “I could never be more proud of Jordan, but with some of things we’ve learned about him, I just wanted to burst.”

And Nicole, who witnessed the bloody aftermath of the attack on her boyfriend, remains very close to Jordan’s family, and has just been visited by them in Ibiza, where she is spending the summer.

“She will always be a part of our family. We have got a bond with her,” explains Jill.

Ian, who works at Edinburgh University, adds: “Nicole knew how we were feeling.”

Lizzie, a midwife, told the High Court trial in March that she did not know if she could continue to bring children into the world, but she is starting a phased return to work.

A fresh legal battle lies ahead, with Wilson planning an appeal against her nine-year sentence for culpable homicide.

She was convicted for phoning Mallon and calling him to the scene to carry out the ­stabbing.

Horrific memories remain of remorseless Mallon, 47, making an obscene gesture in the family’s direction as he was led off from the dock to begin his life sentence for murder.

“They can’t take responsibility for what they have done. They don’t even have the common decency to do that,” says Lizzie, who describes Mallon – who has children of his own – as a coward.

“They have no conscience or heart.”

“It wouldn’t have mattered who it was that Wilson was standing beside at the time, [Mallon] would done that to him,” says Ian.

“We have got the life sentence,” says Louise. “If it wasn’t for Wilson, Jordan would be here.”

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com

Hundreds queue to donate blood in Jordan’s memory

MORE than 250 people queued for hours last week to donate blood in Jordan’s memory.

Jordan, who suffered an 11-centimetre neck wound, received 238 units of blood and associated blood products during emergency treatment at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on July 13.

“The blood bank took a major hit that night,” said Ian. “There was mention at the funeral of donations. We thought, if you want to donate, why not repay the blood donation service?”

His family launched a special campaign in a bid to “give back” the vital stocks, and 256 people gathered at Jordan’s former school to donate blood on Tuesday.

Many of Jordan’s friends gave blood for the first time, with dozens writing in a remembrance book.

Nicole, who has gone to Ibiza for three months to try to come to terms with the tragedy, gave blood the day before she flew out.