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

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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Labour leader Ed Miliband unveils Labour's pledges carved into a stone plinth in Hastings  

Election 2015: Smash the two-party system! Smash the voting system!

Armando Iannucci
Tactical voting is a necessary evil of the current first-past-the-post system, where voters vote against what they do not want rather than in favour of what they do  

Election 2015: Voting tactically has become more fraught in new political order

Michael Ashcroft
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before