Tories reject name for ninja swords to be banned regardless of grieving mum’s plea

Tories have voted down a call for ninja swords to be banned, hours after the mum of a murdered teen pleaded for the weapons to be taken off the streets.

MPs heard most members of the public would be “shocked” that the swords aren’t banned already, but rejected calls for a new law. Home Office minister Laura Farris claimed doing so would be “difficult” because the weapons are used by military historians and for commemorations.

Pooja Kanda, whose 16-year-old son Ronan was stabbed to death with a ninja sword as he walked home in Wolverhampton, had urged ministers to “listen to the cries of grieving parents”. Ronan died in 2022 after being attacked with a 20-inch blade that his killer had purchased online.

Calling for a ban, Labour Shadow Justice Minister Alex Cunningham said: “Many will be frankly shocked that such weapons aren’t banned already. In the wrong hands these weapons can cause significant harm and they should be taken off the streets without delay.”

But Home Office Minister Laura Farris said the Government wasn’t backing the demand. Explaining why curved swords are illegal but straight swords are not, she said: “The reason why straight swords are more difficult to ban is because some of them are held by military historians and for commemorative purposes.”

And she told MPs that ninja swords are used in a small proportion of killings. A Labour bid to strengthen the Criminal Justice Bill and ban the swords was defeated by 272 votes to 171.

Ms Farris said the the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) has not called for them to be banned. The Government minister said: “In fact, of all the knife crime fatalities last year around about 1% was caused that way. What they (the NPCC) are asking for is a clampdown on the online sale of knives for the under 18, that’s something we’re doing in the Online Safety Act.

She said: “He (Mr Cunningham) will know that possessing a sword or any knife, even a kitchen knife, in a public place without good reason is already a criminal offence punishable by up to four years in prison.”

It comes after Pooja Kanda, whose son Ronan died after being attacked with a 20 inch blade, told The Mirror she hoped the Government “listens to the cries” of grieving parents like her. Ronan, 16, was attacked in a case of mistaken identity as he walked home in Wolverhampton in June 2022.

Ms Kanda said: “My Ronan should have been able to come home that day, and everyone should be able to walk freely in their neighbourhoods without the threat of bumping into someone with a deadly weapon.

“How many more innocent people must tragically lose their lives before the Government listens to the cries of grieving parents such as myself, which have thus far only been heard by the Labour Party?”

The Labour amendment, put forward by Shadow Policing Minister Alex Norris, would have put a ban in place for ninja swords, also known as katana or ninjato weapons. These are described as a single-edged straight blade of up to 60cm in length with a long hilt or guard.

The amendment proposed an exemption for weapons for sporting use or for possession as antiques. Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said it is “inexplicable” the Tories have failed to outlaw the ninja knives. Last month 14-year-old Daniel Anjorin became the latest victim when he was killed with a sword in Hainault.