Tears and fancy dress for another victim

Friends of the murdered teenager Ben Kinsella wore fancy dress to his funeral yesterday, as his sister renewed her pleas for an end to knife crime.

Ben, 16, brother of the former EastEnders actress Brooke Kinsella, was celebrating the end of his GCSEs last month when he was stabbed after a fight at a bar in Islington spilt on to the street.

Hundreds of mourners, some wearing wigs and oversized brightly coloured sunglasses, attended his funeral service at St John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in north London.

Despite the upbeat attire, the sadness was obvious: wearing T-shirts bearing anti-knife crime slogans, mourners wept as Ben's purple coffin, bearing a K for his surname, was carried into the church in Islington by members of his family to the strains of Michael Jackson's "Ben". Before the service his sister, Brooke, 24, pleaded for others to lay down their weapons. She said: "Enough is enough. Do something now to make sure your brother, sister, son, or best friend's life doesn't end the same awful way.

"The problem is far worse than imagined. It's why we have to act so quickly. We have to inform youngsters and parents of the brutal truth and work hard, right now, to get rid of this menace."

The Mass – which was attended by Richard Taylor, whose son, Damilola, was murdered; the former EastEnders stars Michelle Ryan, Gillian Taylforth and James Alexandrou; the actress Linda Robson and the Labour MP for Islington North, Jeremy Corbyn – included a poem Ben wrote before his death. It told of his happiness and hopes for his future.

"So what comes next for me?", he had written shortly before his murder. "God knows. I don't. This is my home now and I've never felt better. I'm not scared any more. There's no weight on my shoulders, no struggle. Let's just see what a future here brings. But at the moment, this is living. Not death."

Ben was a keen Arsenal fan and talented actor who had appeared in ITV's The Bill. In the days after he died, about 400 protesters marched along Upper Street in Islington and on to the scene of the killing to demand an end to knife crime.

Laying flowers outside the church, one of Ben's close friends, Brooke Dunford, 16, said: "He was a funny, bright boy. He wouldn't have wanted everyone to wear black." A card attached to the bouquet read: "The most saddest day of my life, Ben when I lost you. I will hold you in my heart forever, I love you, you hottie."

Three teenagers have been charged with his murder. Juress Kika, 18, Michael Alleyne, 18, and Jade Braithwaite, 19, have been remanded in custody until 13 October.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas