Brooke Kinsella: I am still so heartbroken at loss of brother Ben

The former EastEnders star said she will never give up the fight against knife crime 15 years on from her brother’s murder.

Margaret Davis
Wednesday 28 June 2023 09:53 BST
Actress Brooke Kinsella has said she is ‘still heartbroken’ over the murder of her brother Ben, who was stabbed to death in north London 15 years ago (Family handout/PA)
Actress Brooke Kinsella has said she is ‘still heartbroken’ over the murder of her brother Ben, who was stabbed to death in north London 15 years ago (Family handout/PA)

A touching childhood picture of knife crime victim Ben Kinsella and his actress sister Brooke has been released 15 years on from his death.

Ben was stabbed to death in Islington, north London, on June 29 2008 while he was out celebrating the end of his GCSE exams.

His sister, a former EastEnders star, said: “Fifteen years on, I am still so heartbroken at the violent and unnecessary loss of such a beautiful boy and the ripple effect it had on so many.

“I am thinking of my family, Ben’s friends, the wife he might have loved, and the children he might have had.

“I am even more heartbroken that we haven’t succeeded in making this world a safer place, a place where 16-year-old boys can make it home to their beds.

“It can be hard to keep going but I made a promise to my brother all those years ago and I will do all I can to keep it. We will never give up in the fight against knife crime.”

She will celebrate her son Ben’s first birthday on Thursday, the day that her brother died.

The Kinsella family set up anti-knife crime charity the Ben Kinsella Trust in the wake of his murder, and to date the organisation has worked with 30,000 young people directly and more through online courses to divert them away from knife crime.

Ben’s parents, Deborah and George. said: “We would like to say that it gets easier with time, but it truly doesn’t.

“We will always wonder what he would be doing in his life now, who his wife would have been, and we would have loved and adored our grandchildren he would have given us.

“Instead we go to the cemetery to visit our Ben and the grief is still as strong as it was from the day he was taken from us, it never goes away.”

Ben Kinsella Trust chief executive Patrick Green said knife crime remains an epidemic in the UK.

“Our biggest concern is the continuing rise in knife crime across the country,” he said. “It has risen by 46% in the last decade and is spreading like an epidemic.

“Once we would have considered it a big city problem, but that is changing. It is now escalating quicker in towns and areas which 10 years ago were immune to knife crime.

“The increase in knife crime is fuelled by drugs and gangs and county lines. Social issues such as poverty, deprivation, and lack of opportunities for social mobility make it easier for criminals to target vulnerable young people.”

In the past eight years the number of attacks involving machetes and large knives has risen sixfold, Mr Green said, but plans to ban the weapons could take four or five years to come into force.

He added: “The pace of change is too slow. We are always one or two steps behind the gangs and criminals who drive knife crime, and we seem unable to respond quickly and decisively when policies and law changes are desperately needed.”

In April the Home Office launched a consultation on plans to ban so-called zombie knives and machetes that have no obvious practical purpose, and tougher sentences for those caught selling knives to under-18s.

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