Girlfriend of Sam Guidera shares grief over his murder two years on
PUBLISHED: 10:51 14 February 2013 | UPDATED: 10:51 14 February 2013
Sam Guidera was never late to meet his girlfriend, so when he didn't show up at the pub they'd arranged to meet at, she was worried.
Claire Smith’s phone was out of battery so she couldn’t call him. After waiting half an hour at The Dolphin in Sydenham she drove to Sam’s house through Newlands Park, where she saw police and ambulances had cordoned off the Penge East station.
Nobody was in so she returned to her own house where she charged her phone and called Sam. The police answered.
They told her to get to the hospital because Sam had been stabbed – but by the time she arrived, her boyfriend of seven years was dead.
Tuesday marked two years since University of Greenwich student Sam was found collapsed in Bailey Place, at the junction with Newlands Park, 200 metres from the station. His wallet had been taken.
He was studying history and politics and wanted to become a teacher – his professors said he had a bright future ahead of him.
The 24-year-old had spent the day with friends watching football and travelled on the 9.17pm train from Bickley to Penge East, arriving just before 9.30pm.
He crossed the footbridge over the railway to the Newlands Park exit en route to meet Claire at The Dolphin.
Since that horrible night, life has never been the same for Claire, Sam’s parents Sarah and Chris, his brother and sister and all of his friends who loved him.
“I want to know what gave these people the right to end Sam’s life like that,” says Claire. “His desperate attempt to call 999 before he lost consciousness, the panic he must have felt when he realised what was happening, the loneliness of dying in the street without a single person who knew his name – these things will haunt me forever, but Sam actually went through them.
“Everyone who knew Sam is so proud to have known him and shared a part of his life. I feel so privileged to have been able to say ‘I love you’ and hear him say it back. Now we direct those words to a hole in the ground and hear nothing but silence in response.
“There will never be a time that I stop dreaming of seeing that smile again.”
A joint statement released by Sarah and Chris Guidera released on the second anniversary of their son’s death reads: “Time is not a healer. We will never get back to normal. The people we were before no longer exist.
“Please look at your son, brother, uncle, think how you would miss them and if you know anything come forward, don’t let the cowards who took my son’s life kill again.”
Sam and teaching assistant Claire, now 26, met at sixth-form at Hayes School. She says over the seven years they were together they “grew up together and shared so many experiences”.
“It’s devastating to know that nothing will ever come of it,” says Claire. “You realise how much you took for granted. Silly arguments, they all seem so ridiculous. Nothing matters now he’s not here.”
Despite offering a £20,000 reward and making four arrests over the past two years, nobody has been charged.
Asked what she would say to anyone who knows something, Claire says: “Sam didn’t deserve to die like that, all alone.
“He could have been anything he wanted to. How can society let someone as good as him die while the people who killed him walk free?”