Mark Hughes: Murder that put knife crime in the headlines

Share
Related Topics

Ben Kinsella was the 17th teenager to die on London's streets last year, but his murder provoked a wave of anger like no other. Outraged by the senselessness of the killing, and overwhelmed by the feeling that knife crime in the capital was spiralling out of control, hundreds of people took to the streets to demonstrate.

Three days after the 16-year-old was murdered during a night out to celebrate the end of his GCSE exams, some 500 teenagers marched through Islington, north London – where Ben lived and died. The march was organised by his friend Brooke Dunford, who appealed to others on Facebook to join the march. Among them was Brooke Kinsella, Ben's sister and former EastEnders actress.

The group snaked through the streets wearing T-shirts adorned with Ben's face and carrying slogans including "RIP Ben", "You're an Angel" and "Stop Knife Violence". Many chanted for an end to knife violence, but as they approached Shillibeers bar, where Ben had been the night he died, everyone was silent.

In the aftermath of his death, Ben's sister made numerous emotional appeals for her brother's killers to be caught, as did the Birds of a Feather star Linda Robson, whose son, Louis, was Ben's best friend and had cradled him as he died. On 3 July, the three men who murdered Ben were charged.

The family effort clearly impressed the police. Detective Chief Inspector John Macdonald said yesterday: "I am always affected and humbled by the dignity families show in difficult circumstances like this, and the Kinsella family are just the same. For their commitment to the fight against knife crime, I have massive respect for them."

Even before his death, the rising scale of knife crime was not lost on Ben. Soon after he died it emerged that as part of his English GCSE coursework Ben had written to the Prime Minister urging the Government to solve the problem. His letter began: "Youth violence hits deadly peak. When will it stop?" Ben's death also prompted debate about whether it was no longer safe for people to intervene in trouble on the streets. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who lived a few streets away from where Ben was murdered, said he now advised his own children: "Don't get involved, move away."

Meanwhile the police stepped up efforts in Operation Blunt 2, their own fight against knife crime and youth violence. Yesterday the Met arrested more than 200 people across all 32 London boroughs whom they believe are involved in gang-related youth violence.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Read Next
Former N-Dubz singer Tulisa Contostavlos gives a statement outside Southwark Crown Court after her trial  

It would be wrong to compare brave Tulisa’s ordeal with phone hacking. It’s much worse than that

Matthew Norman
The Big Society Network was assessed as  

What became of Cameron's Big Society Network?

Oliver Wright
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn