Knives as deadly as guns, say stab victims' families

The devastated relatives of stabbing victims today launched an emotional campaign urging the Government to put knife crime on a par with gun crime.

The group, which includes the parents of murdered schoolboy Luke Walmsley, are calling on the Government to introduce a five-year minimum jail term for carrying an object with a blade longer than three inches.

They also want to see a six-month minimum jail term for carrying a blade shorter than three inches, or three months for juveniles.

Some parents today criticised the Government's action on knife crime, and the press conference at a central London hotel also heard of fears that civil unrest could result if spiralling violence was not controlled.

The group have set a three-month deadline for action, before they embark on "the largest petition this country has ever seen".

The Knives Destroy Lives campaign, led by the victims of Crime Trust, has written to Lord Chief Justice Woolf and Chief Constables and delivered a letter to Downing Street this morning, before heading to the House of Commons to meet MPs.

Michael Hegarty, brother of Bernard Hegarty, who was fatally stabbed in east London in August as he shopped for his new flat, said the family had been through torture since the architect was killed.

"They say total devastation but it doesn't come close. It is torture."

And he said he hoped the campaign would work.

"I hope so, I really do. Something needs to be done."

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz