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Parents of murdered Milton Keynes teenager pay tribute to their 'Benny Boy'

The parents of Ben Gillham-Rice, Jason and Suzanne, have released the following tribute following the sentencing of five people for his murder in Milton Keynes.

How do we put into words what has happened, or tell anybody how we are feeling?

How do we put into words how much Ben meant to us and so many others that he touched during his 17 years?

As parents, we only wanted to protect, love and watch Ben grow.

We wanted to watch him explore his dreams and ambitions as he went through life.

All of these ambitions have been taken away.

So, what was Ben like?

Well, there really aren’t enough words to describe our son.

From an early age, Ben was somebody that everyone would move towards in a room due to his unique personality, which led to him being voted for an award at his prom for being the funniest in his school.

He always made time for people around him. He was so caring towards others. He was thoughtful with the older generation and patient with the younger.

Ben truly had time for everyone and never judged anyone, no matter who they were.

Our Ben never really liked school from a young age, crying nearly every day and making his mum feel so guilty.

Even as Ben went through his school years, he continued to work through his dislike for it, never giving up on his education and stuck with it, finishing exams with a positive, but laid back attitude.

Ben would say, ‘Mum, dad, I’ll do my best, but exams will not define me as a person. I am going to make something of myself regardless.’

Never a truer word than that came from Ben.

Ben loved football, not just playing for his local team, Newport Pagnell, but also on his PlayStation where he would host many football nights with his friends.

We miss the sound of his voice coming from his room while playing with his friends. Now the house is so painfully quiet.

Another one of Ben’s pastimes was to go and watch Spurs with his brother at White Hart Lane, using their season tickets to their full advantage.

His brother, Jakey, hasn’t been able to bring himself to go back to the stadium without his brother.

Football at home without Ben is only bearable because his friends come around to watch with Jakey and us. But there is a sadness because his opinionated passionate voice can no longer be heard.

Ben’s friends regularly contact us, always taking time out to visit when they return from their university studies.

They are a lovely, sincere group of friends, who have been close to Ben since he was four-years-old.

They are struggling to understand and cope with the pain and loss of their friend.

Ben’s friends take it upon themselves to do the things Ben would have done, such as send flowers on mother’s day, thoughtful messages on special occasions, such as birthdays and Christmas.

We really can’t express how much they help to try and comfort us, all while trying to deal with losing a friend.

We are so proud of our Benny Boy.

He had so many ambitions and dreams to achieve. He had an apprenticeship in the construction industry, working alongside his dad and business partners.

As well as learning his trades, Ben negotiated deals for plots of land for us to develop.

He really was a natural entrepreneur for someone so young.