Wednesday, 3 September 2008

CORRECTED - Youth held over 14-year-old's murder

(Corrects date of arrest after update from police)

LONDON (Reuters) - London police said on Wednesday they had arrested a youth in connection with the murder of Shaquille Smith, a 14-year-old boy stabbed to death in the capital at the weekend.

Smith died from a stab wound to his abdomen after becoming involved in a fight with a group of youths on Saturday night in Hackney, east London. He was the 25th teenager to die in violent circumstances in London this year.

His 16-year-old sister also suffered wounds to her face and neck in the incident but her injuries were not serious.

Man found stabbed to death in Northampton

A man has been found stabbed to death in a house in Northamptonshire.

The man, who detectives think is 38 years old, was found in Thrapston, at about 3.15am.

A post-mortem is being carried out by a Home Office pathologist at Leicester Royal Infirmary.

Detective Chief Inspector Tom Davies said: "At this stage, I have an open mind about the circumstances of this man's death but will be carrying out a thorough investigation to establish the facts of what happened."

More family agony as it emerges that Shaquille Smith was innocent victim of feud between street gangs

Another fatal stabbing on the streets.. another family's agony Mother's heartache at killing of 'good' Shaquille
The heartbroken mum of one of Britain's youngest stab victims told yesterday of her desperate struggle to save her son's life.

Army cadet Shaquille Smith, 14, died after he was attacked by hoodies who arrived on BMX bikes just yards from his home.

It emerged yesterday the boy was the innocent victim of a feud between two street gangs.

It is believed he and his sister Tahirah, 16, were attacked by a group called the Fields Boys.

Tahirah was slashed across the face and neck as she tried to protect her brother.

Shaquille tried to crawl back home and his mother Sandra Maitland, 43, found him lying on the pavement outside the family's house in Hackney, East London.

She said: "His sister shouted at me to come outside because the Fields Boys were there.
"I ran out and the gang just rushed past me. Shaquille was lying on the floor. He kept saying to stop everyone shouting.
"I was pressing on his wound, trying to stop the bleeding with a towel. There was no confrontation. They just attacked."

A neighbour said: "Shaquille dragged himself to his house. He was saying, 'Ouch, my stomach,' very quietly. He was conscious as the ambulance came."

Before the attack Shaquille and Tahirah were chatting to another friend in a park.
Neighbour, Laura Middlehurst, 31, said: "About 15 of them came on bikes. Shaquille was trapped.

"There was no way out and he was trying to hide in the bushes."
It is thought he was stabbed by the gang in those bushes.

At first surgeons believed Shaquille would survive. Sandra said: "He woke up in hospital and said he wanted strawberry flavoured water and to see his one-year-old baby sister.
"I went up to theatre with him at 2am and stayed the whole time.
"But at 7am they said they couldn't stop the bleeding."
Last night a postmortem confirmed Shaquille, who had three sisters and a brother, died from a single single stab wound to the abdomen.

Tahirah was recovering at home with stitches in a face wound. Devastated Sandra, a social worker, said: "We are still in shock. It just hasn't sunk in yet.
"It's like he's still there in hospital and will come home soon. He had very good manners and was in the Army cadets.
"I wanted him to focus on something productive that gave him self-discipline."

One local, mum-of-three, Francesca Aboye, 42, said gang violence in the area is so bad her adult son would not risk leaving the house. She said: "I have an 18-year-old son. He did not go out all yesterday because he is scared.
"It's been going on for a long time. No children from here go to London Fields because of that gang, so the gang comes here."
Shaquille was preparing to begin his GCSE studies at Sir John Cass's Foundation School.

Gang 'killed dad in feud over assault'

A father was stabbed to death trying to protect his son from a gang pressing the lad to drop assault charges, a court heard yesterday.

Mohammed Raja Shafiq, 50, had gone to the rescue of 18-year-old Umar in a park.

His four attackers had weapons including a knife and a metal bar, Manchester crown court was told.

And as they fled the scene, one allegedly showed off the bloodstained knife and said: "I've just stabbed someone, aren't I a cool f****r?"

Mohammed Bilal Bhatti, 20, Omar Khalid, 19, Shahdab Akhtar, 19, and a 17-year-old who cannot be named deny murder and violent disorder.

Akhtar had been charged with assaulting Umar five months before the attack in Burnley and had "repeatedly pressed" him to drop the charges, the court heard.

He was the first to strike Mr Shafiq with a belt and Bhatti stabbed him in the stomach before bragging as they fled, the ongoing trial heard.

'Stamp out knife crime'

By Jacqui Smith Home Secretary:

The deaths of young people in violent incidents are truly tragic.

But just as my heart goes out to them and their families, I know that people want me to be sure we are doing all we can to catch the killers and to stop more crimes like this happening.

We can never give up in the fight against violent crime - and tackling knife crime is one of my top priorities.

The Government has doubled the maximum sentence to four years for carrying a knife, and raised the age you can buy a knife from 16 to 18 years.

The police have increased the use of stop and search to take knives off our streets and take on those who are carrying them, and teachers now have the power to search pupils in schools.

Today I'm publishing the Gangs Guide for Parents - giving parents the support and advice they need to talk to their kids about the dangers of joining a gang.

As the Mirror's campaign against knives has proved, everyone has an important part to play - not just the police and local councils, but parents and community groups as well. One thing I'm concerned to tackle is the young age of some victims.

Alongside tough enforcement, we're working closely with schools to educate young people about the dangers of carrying knives - making it clear that a knife makes you less safe, not more.

The police are working with hospitals to share data on knife injuries and will carry out home visits to parents of young people believed to be carrying knives.

The injuries and deaths we've seen have to stop. So let's work together to stamp out knife crime and stop young people needlessly losing their lives.

Boy, 14, knifed to death in 'revenge attack' is 25th to be murdered in London

A boy of 14 was stabbed to death in what might have been revenge for a youth who died falling from flats as he was chased by a gang.

Shaquille Maitland-Smith was knifed in the stomach and sister Tahirah, 16, suffered serious slashes to her face.

Saturday's sickening attack in Hackney, East London, happened just half a mile away from where Ahmed Benyermak, 16, fell from a tower block.

One theory is that the latest killing may be linked to Ahmed's death 10 days earlier.

Shaquille, the 25th teenager to be murdered in London this year, and Tahirah are said to have been set upon by a gang on BMX bikes. Witnesses said the black youth's mum Sandra, 43, cradled him in her arms before paramedics arrived.

He died in hospital yesterday. Tahirah's condition was last night said to be stable.

Tiziano Niero, who lives four doors down from the dead boy's family in St Thomas's Place, said he saw a gang of youths riding BMXs and heard shouting outside his house before he was stabbed.

He said: "I heard a girl in tears and I looked out on to the street and there's a kid lying in the street, conscious but bleeding.
"He was dying in front of my window but dragged himself in front of his house.
"He was a nice boy. He wasn't aggressive but he got with the wrong crowd."

A police spokesman said: "It is believed that the two victims had been involved in an altercation with a group of youths prior to being assaulted."

Last night, Shaquille's godmother Cindy Liverpool, 46, told of his mother's grief.

She said: "She is not taking it well at all. It's so sad. He was just a really nice little boy. He didn't interfere with anyone."

Another terrified mum in the neighbourhood said: "It's not safe at all around here.

"When my children come home from school, I make sure they take the quickest route."

Police probe knife killing of 14-year-old

A 14-year-old boy has been stabbed to death in Hackney in east London, the 25th teenager to die in a knife or gun attack in the capital this year, police said on Sunday.

The boy was stabbed late on Saturday night after becoming involved in a fight with a group of youths and died on Sunday morning in an east London hospital.

A 16-year-old girl who was also involved in the fight suffered slash wounds, but is in a stable condition in hospital.
There will be a post mortem on Monday at the Royal London Hospital and police have appealed for witnesses.

A 15-year-old boy was stabbed to death in Liverpool on Saturday.

A wave of shootings and stabbings in London in recent months has prompted a police crackdown on young people carrying weapons. Metropolitan Police chief Ian Blair said last month that the violence was "unacceptable".

Official figures released in July showed there were more than 22,000 serious offences involving knives in England and Wales in the year to end-March 2008, though crime fell significantly overall.

Police probe murder of teenager in Liverpool

Police have arrested a 15-year-old boy in connection with the stabbing to death of a teenager in Liverpool, Merseyside police said on Sunday.

Police were called to an address in the Old Swan district of Liverpool early on Saturday morning where they found 16-year-old Luke Howard had been stabbed. He later died in hospital.

"It appears that this incident took place following an argument at a party at this property," said Superintendent Graham Yip.
"We are appealing for anyone who was at the address during the course of this party, to come forward and make contact with police."

Ex-Scotland Yard murder chief slams knife strategy

Police stop and search tactics to tackle knife crime in London could end up making teenage gangs stronger and the problem worse, the former head of Scotland Yard's murder prevention unit said on Thursday.

Laura Richards, a criminal behaviour psychologist who ran the unit for four years till last summer, told the BBC a targeted approach to known offenders would be more successful.

The BBC said her team's research into street knife crime had found that around 90 percent of offenders were known to the police well before they committed the offences.

The unit had proposed targeting those likely to commit knife crime as a way of addressing the problem, rather than carrying out random searches.

Teen knifed at Games do 'knew killer'

A teenager stabbed to death near an Olympic party site probably knew his attackers, police sources said last night.

Charles Junior Hendricks, - known as CJ - was knifed close to a park in Walthamstow, East London, on Sunday at 1.40am. Police sources fear CJ was stabbed by members of a gang after a fall-out.

Knife crime: 18-year-old boy stabbed to death in East London

An 18-year-old boy was knifed to death in East London yesterday - the 24th teenager to be fatally stabbed or gunned down in the capital this year.

Charles Junior Hendricks, or CJ, was found dying in a Walthamstow park in the early hours by police.
The killing led to the cancellation of Walthamstow's celebration of the handover of the Olympics to London.

Council leader Clyde Loakes said: "I was devastated to learn that instead of celebrating London officially becoming the next Olympic host, in Walthamstow we would be mourning the loss of another young life."

Two suspects, aged 17 and 19, were arrested nearby and the youngest needed hospital treatment for a minor slash wound to his arm.

It is thought CJ, who lived in nearby Leytonstone with mum Melanie and dad Charles, was attacked by members of a gang.

But pals insisted he was not in a gang and his heartbroken gran Weda Campbell said his family were devastated. She added: "He was supposed to go to college in September. He wanted to be a mechanic. He was a very good boy, a beautiful boy."

Knife Crime: Tell us who's got a knife in your class

More than 150,000 children will be urged to secretly text details of classmates with knives in a groundbreaking new scheme.

Youngsters in 160 secondary schools and colleges in some of Britain's worst knife crime areas will take part in the project organised by the charity Crimestoppers. If successful it will go nationwide next year.

The launch is a victory for the Mirror's Stop Knives, Save Lives campaign - which has urged the use of a text messaging alert system. Hannah Daws from Crimestoppers said: "Because of the popularity of texting among youngsters we decided to use it.

"All we ask for is five pieces of information - the suspect's name, nickname, school, class year, and address."
Messages will be routed through special software to ensure they remain anonymous when passed to the police.

Police say a pilot scheme in three schools in Tower Hamlets, East London, has already given them vital information.

Hannah added: "From September we are going live in all the schools across fifteen London boroughs with the worst rates of knife crime. If that's also successful we'll roll out the scheme across Britain."

The idea was applauded by Sally Knox, whose actor son Rob, 18, was knifed to death outside a London bar in May.
She said: "Anything that enables children to get in touch with the police anonymously is a fantastic idea. Using texts makes it even better."

Knife crime: Yobs forced lad to plunge to his death

A terrified 16-year-old who fell 100ft to his death from a block of flats was trying to flee a gang of masked hoodies, police revealed yesterday.

Witnesses say Ahmed Benyermak, 16, feared he was about to be stabbed by the knife-wielding youths on push-bikes.
He climbed down six floors on the outside of the 15-storey building.

But when he reached the seventh ledge, a piece of wire mesh gave way and he lost his footing.

Neighbours said Ahmed was with friends when he was chased by the gang, who were wearing bandanas.

It is believed the pals ran into the Trelawney Estate in Hackney, East London, but Ahmed became separated and ended up on a 13th floor balcony of the Paragon Road tower.

He is believed to have started lowering himself as the gang shouted threats at him.

He plunged to the ground and died instantly from horrific internal injuries, a post-mortem revealed.

Local resident James Roberts, 45, said: "About five kids were chasing him, probably trying to stab him."
Others even claimed Ahmed may have been pushed at 4pm on Wednesday - 24 hours before he'd have learned he'd got nine GCSEs.

His headmaster Richard Brown, of Hackney Free and Parochial Secondary, said: "He had only been here a year so it's a great achievement turned to tragedy - possibly because of gang activity that usually hardly impacts at this school.

"Some of his family came in and found out about his results but not his parents. They were too upset."
Ahmed's Moroccan-born dad Rashid, 42, and Naima, 40, sobbed at home nearby last night: "This should be one of the happiest days of our lives. Instead it's the saddest."

Naima, who has three other children, went on: "Ahmed said he'd do well and would have been so proud. Now our lovely caring boy is gone."

As schoolpals laid flowers and cards by the block yesterday, classmate Levyna Hall-Gordon, 16, said: "Ahmed was a good kid who wasn't involved in gangs or anything.

Teenager denies murdering Conor Black

A teenager yesterday denied murdering a 16-year-old boy who was stabbed when a row broke out a party.

The youth of 16, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared before Manchester magistrates.

Conor Black was stabbed once in his left shoulder in Harpurhey, Greater Manchester, in the early hours of Saturday. He died on the way to hospital.

It is understood Conor was stabbed through the aorta - the largest artery in the body.

Reporting stabbing A&E victims is a victory for the Daily Mirror

Doctors have been ordered to report stabbings to police under rules issued by the medical watchdog.

The change is a huge victory for the Mirror's Stop Knives, Save Lives campaign. Police are also being issued with hundreds more search wands and dozens of extra airport-style arches to detect blades, another of our campaign's demands.

Former EastEnders actress Brooke Kinsella, whose 16-year-old brother Ben was stabbed to death, praised our victory.
She said: "Congratulations to the Mirror. I attended the Daily Mirror's anti-knife summit last month when we told the Government that we needed these changes to be made - so it's great that they're listening.

"This victory will hopefully make people think twice before going out armed with a blade and stop other innocent youngsters suffering the same terrible fate as Ben.
"It's proof that together we can really make a difference. Keep up the good work."

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has done a deal with doctors over reporting stabbings after weeks of wrangling.
Ms Smith backed our call for police to be notified when victims arrive at hospital. But there were fears that this would stop badly injured people from seeking treatment.

The Home Secretary has been in talks with medical chiefs about finding a compromise.
Now the General Medical Council has produced draft guidelines stating that hospital staff should inform officers when knife victims are admitted.

But doctors and nurses will be allowed to withhold a victim's name and address.

The Mirror demands..
1 Give our police tools to catch knife thugs
2 Launch amnesty to bring in the blades
3 Nurses must report treating stab victims
4 Teach all pupils that knives solve nothing
5 Texts and internet will help win battle

David Beckham: Knife thugs paralysed my friend

David Beckham yesterday backed a campaign to end knife crime, as he remembered a pal who was stabbed.

The England midfielder said he saw the devastating effects blades can have on youngsters when his mate was knifed in the back and paralysed - ending his dream of becoming a professional footballer.

Former England skipper Becks added: "I had a situation when I was 13. One of my best friend's brothers was going to sign for Leyton Orient.

"He saw a fight break out and went to help and ended up getting stabbed in the back and paralysed.
"It's been going on a long time and has only been highlighted now.
"Nobody wants to see the devastation that I saw my friend and his family go through.
"As a parent, you don't expect to pack your kids off to school in the morning and never see them again."

The 33-year-old LA Galaxy star spoke during the launch of a government anti-knife campaign at England's Hertfordshire training ground ahead of tomorrow's friendly match with the Czech Republic.

He was joined by goalie David James and Rio Ferdinand. Becks said: "It's something us as footballers can get involved in.

"We have a voice, a voice kids listen to. We want to do everything possible to beat knife crime."
Manchester United star Rio told how he was brought up on a tough estate in Peckham, South London, but steered clear of weapons.

The defender, who went to the same school as murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence, said: "I didn't carry a knife, I was around people who probably did. We are fortunate that we had goals in life, we wanted to play football.
"I never forget the day the head told us Stephen was killed. It was chilling. It really hit home.
"One day he is enjoying life talking about doing art A-level and the next he's gone."

Anti-knife czar Deputy Assistant Commissioner Alf Hitchcock praised the players.
He said: "Are young people really going to believe it from a 50-year-old policeman? No, but they will when they hear it from their icons."

Nilanthan Murddi knife murder may have been racist attack

A teenager knifed to death at the weekend may have been the victim of a race-hate murder, pals said yesterday.

Nilanthan Murddi, 17, was stabbed in the neck when a white man leaped from a cab and hurled abuse, then returned later to stab him.

Pals said the victim was setting up a party at a restaurant.

One, Amir Butt, 23, claimed: "He was in the car park when a cab pulled up and a drunk guy in the back was shouting, 'You f*****g Paki'.

"Our friends said, 'We don't want any problems. Just go away'."

Amir said the cab left but an hour later the man returned to the scene in Croydon, South London, in the early hours of Saturday and attacked Nilanthan. Cousin Ramya Muraliidaran, 20, told of his fears for violent Britain as he said: "We are scared of gun and knife crime and need to put a stop to it."

Nilanthan is the 23rd London teenager killed this year. A man, 31, was held but freed on bail.

Police said: "We need to trace the cab driver as he may hold the key to the identity of the suspect."

Meanwhile, Conor Black, 16, was knifed to death on a Manchester street early Saturday.
He died on his way to hospital in an ambulance.
Two knives were found at the scene.

Last night, a 16-year-old boy was arrested over the fatal stabbing of a teenager in Manchester, police said.

Knife crime: The youngest victim

This is Cameron Reilly, the youngest victim of Britain's knife culture.
He was just eight days old when he was taken to the funeral of Alan Reilly... the daddy he never had a chance to meet.
One day his mum Rachel Murphy will have the horrendous task of telling Cameron that his 25-year-old father was stabbed to death.
Instead of playing with him in the park, or sharing his passion for quad bikes, Cameron will only know his dad through a memory book of stories and photos.
"I feel so grateful that Alan will live on through Cameron," says 22-year-old Rachel.
"But what gets me the most is that no matter what I do, he'll never have that bond with his dad.
"I'll tell Cameron about his daddy every single day, about how funny he was and what a good dad he'd have been, but that's all he's got. He hasn't even got his own memories."
Cameron is now six weeks old and is the spitting image of his father.
"Alan was so excited about the birth of his first baby," says Rachel, a bank clerk, who began dating Alan five years ago.
"He talked to my bump every night, and used to say how he couldn't wait for him to come out. When we found out we were having a boy, he was so happy.
"He'd tease me about getting a mini quad bike straight away for his son and I'd say, 'Not for a few years!'
"We went shopping for all the baby things together but Alan would often come home with extra clothes that he couldn't resist buying himself."
Having moved to a flat near Witham, Essex, the pair were planning to get married.

But on April 22 Alan, who worked as a plater for an engineering firm, went out to the pub with his mates - and never came home.

"I was worried as I couldn't get hold of him," recalls Rachel. "I rang his mum, Kay, but she said he was probably just out later than usual.
"At 6am, there was a knock on my door. I thought it must be Alan at first and wondered why he hadn't got his keys. But it was my mum and dad.
"It's all a blur but I remember mum said, 'Alan's been stabbed.'
"I asked which hospital he was in - then she told me he was dead I just couldn't take it in. I kept asking about the hospital.
"I could just about understand he'd been stabbed, that happens to people, but I couldn't believe that he was dead.
"I was numb for the first few days. It felt like I was looking down on myself from above and it wasn't really happening."

The following day, Rachel said a heartbreaking farewell to the man she had expected to spend the rest of her life with.

"I thought seeing the body would make me believe he had gone," says Rachel, tears streaming down at the memory. "But it didn't. Although it was Alan, it didn't seem like him. I said goodbye to him and promised to look after our unborn baby."

Rachel was six months' pregnant but it took three months for the funeral while police investigated. While the new life stirring inside Rachel gave her joy, every kick was a reminder of their loss.

"It was Cameron who kept me going," says Rachel. "I had to get on with things, and even more so now as I was responsible for our baby, the life that Alan had left behind.

"I had to make sure Cameron was healthy. It got harder later on. At first, I was in shock and there was so much going on, I didn't have time to think. When everything died down, I had more time for it to sink in.
"Going to ante-natal classes was hard - Alan had been coming with me. Now I was going with my mum Anne and sister Leanne, and I would get upset seeing the other women there with their husbands and boyfriends.
"I'd always felt OK about the prospect of labour when Alan was alive. He made me feel so safe. Now I was scared."
On July 3, at 10.17am, and after a 24-hour labour and emergency caesarean, Cameron Alan Reilly was born, weighing 8lbs 3.5oz.

Without Alan, Rachel's mum was there to hold her hand. "I was so happy to have him," says Rachel. "But an hour or so later, when the doctors had gone, I got tearful. I gave Cameron a cuddle and I told him, 'I promised your daddy I'll always look after you.'"

Cameron was Alan's choice of name. His soft downy hair is just like dad's, as are his eyes. "When he was born, he looked just like Alan," says Rachel. "I was hoping he would, not just formy sake but for Alan's mum's. Cameron is our piece of hope, something to look forward to through all the mess.
"I'm lucky as I've had great support from my family and Alan's. Cameron's keeping them going as well, he's very special."
Tragically, Rachel doesn't have many photos of Alan to show Cameron as he grows up. Pictures from their first holiday in Rhodes last year were lost, and others on their computer were destroyed by a virus. But Rachel has been jotting down as many anecdotes and stories as she can in a special memory book for Cameron.

"Memories fade," she says. "I want to keep hold of everything so he can know as much about his dad as possible."
Some day, she will also have the heartbreaking task of telling her son what happened on that dreadful night. I've thought about what I will say," she says. "I think I'll just know when the time is right. It's not going to be easy.

"The people who do these things, they go to prison. But we have to live with it for the rest of our lives too."
Rachel is backing the Daily Mirror's Stop Knives, Save Lives campaign, and hopes to join other families who have suffered the loss of a loved one through knife crime at our People's March in Hyde Park, central London, next month. "I get really angry sometimes," she says. "It's good the Daily Mirror is trying to do something about knife crime because something has to be done. It's happening too often these days.

"People who kill others need to be put away for longer. Some of the killers are really young and they're not getting long enough sentences.
The only thing that'll make them think twice is knowing they would get a life sentence.

"What goes through these people's heads that they have such disregard for human life they can kill someone just like that? If you take a life, I believe you should be put away for life.

"I will tell Cameron what happened to his dad and make sure that keeps him on the straight and narrow.
"I'm scared of what's happening to the world and I'm scared of what it will be like when Cameron's a teenager. All I can do is bring him up properly... and hope."

A 16-year-old boy from Hackney, East London, is on remand, awaiting trial for Alan's murder.

Mystery shoppers to trap knife ban cheats

Teenagers are to be used to snare rogue shopkeepers who sell knives to under-18s.

They will play a major part in a blitz on stores which help fuel Britain's growing blade epidemic.

It is feared many traders are going unpunished despite laws brought in last year banning the sale of knives to under-18s.

Now the Home Office has ordered police and Trading Standards to come down hard on shops in the 10 worst knife crime

The Met's deputy assistant commissioner said: "This cannot be down to police alone - retailers must take responsibility for their actions."

Geoffrey Theobald, head of council trading standards organisation Lacors, revealed previous operations using young volunteers had shown most stores obey the law.

He added: "There's still a minority prepared to sell knives to children.

"Councils aren't trying to hoodwink retailers and will only use volunteers who look under 18."

800 teenagers caught carrying deadly weapons last year

Nearly 800 teenagers were caught last year carrying deadly weapons - including 564 knives - a Daily Mirror investigation has found.

And so far this year, police forces have confiscated 287 weapons - 174 blades - from under-18s.

Two children aged nine and 10 were among those found with knives during random stop and search operations.

Strathclyde force seized at least one knife from youngsters every day last year - 376 in total.

But the overall numbers could be much higher because only a quarter of the police authorities we asked were able to provide figures.

Lorraine Dinnegan, of Holloway, North London, whose son Martin, 14, was stabbed to death last June, said: "These numbers are upsetting... that, a year on, so many other families would be mourning someone. It's appalling this has been allowed to grow so much."

"You need not just young people, but parents and other people to say that knives in Britain, like guns, like bullying, like racism, all these things are unacceptable."

John Johnson, whose son Kevin, 22, was knifed to death outside his Sunderland home by three teenagers in May said: "These figures show something urgently needs to be done about the knife crime epidemic. Anyone who thinks teenagers carrying knives is just a problem in big cities can see it is happening all over the country."

Charity Rainer Crime Concern said: "It is alarming to see the trend towards younger children being caught carrying knives.
"The main reason young people carry weapons is because they feel unsafe. What we need to get across is that if you carry a knife you are putting yourself in much greater danger."

Arsenal footballers join Mirror anti-knives campaign

Arsenal football stars wear the Daily Mirror's anti-knife T-shirts as the club joins the Mirror's Stop Knives, Save Lives campaign.

Theo Walcott, Cesc Fabregas and captain William Gallas all threw their weight behind the appeal at Emirates Stadium.

In a heartfelt plea Gallas urged children to bring an end to knife culture that is blighting our streets.

The defender said: "Knives rob families and friends of precious young people. Give yourselves and others a chance to live together and be safe." Ben Kinsella, an Arsenal fan whose fatal stabbing prompted our campaign, was killed less than a mile away from the club's ground after a night out on June 29.

Gordon Brown calls on Britain to rally against knife crime

Gordon Brown yesterday called on Britain to rally against knife crime calling it "the biggest problem" in our cities.

He told crime writer Ian Rankin - who he has said is his favourite novelist - that the Government cannot tackle the problem alone.

Speaking at the opening of the Edinburgh International Book - Festival, the Prime Minister said: "Young people think it's acceptable, fashionable, necessary for them to carry a knife.

"But just like we made guns unacceptable, we should make knives unacceptable. Not just young people but parents and other people must say that knives, like guns, like bullying, like racism, are unacceptable.

Mother forgives 'dirty look' killer of son

EXCLUSIVE Mum won't let knife attack destroy her:

The mother of a schoolboy stabbed to death for giving a teenager a "dirty look" last night said she forgave her son's killer.
Lorraine Dinnegan made the selfless gesture towards Joseph Chin, 16, after he was jailed for life yesterday for attacking Martin, 14.

She said: "I don't feel anger. I forgive Joseph for what he did.
"Forgiveness is part of the healing process. To be consumed by hate and revenge achieves nothing.
"I want to remember Martin for the beautiful person he was, and I don't want this to be clouded by hate.
"I just pray that his killer can now get the right help to enable him to become a better person and come to terms with the crime he committed."

But she said she wants to leave London.

Around 20 thugs cornered grade A student Martin near his home in Holloway, North London, after he gave the gang a hard stare from a bus in June last year. He ran but was punched in the head before Kevron Williams, 17, stabbed him with a screwdriver. Chin then finished him off.
Chin, of Finsbury Park, North London, will serve a minimum of 12 years' jail. Williams got four years for GBH.
Martin's parents Lorraine and James handed in a letter to Gordon Brown last year calling on him to tackle the scourge of knife crime.

Lad gets life for murder of star pupil

A boy of 16 who chased and stabbed to death a 14-year-old for giving him a dirty look was jailed for life yesterday.

Joseph Chin knifed Martin Dinnegan four times after he had given his gang hard stares from a bus.

The thugs followed the bus and the two groups clashed when Martin got off.

Lad gets life for murder of star pupil

A boy of 16 who chased and stabbed to death a 14-year-old for giving him a dirty look was jailed for life yesterday.

Joseph Chin knifed Martin Dinnegan four times after he had given his gang hard stares from a bus.

The thugs followed the bus and the two groups clashed when Martin got off.

Man bailed in French student murders case

Police investigating the frenzied killings of two French students in London said on Friday a 19-year-old arrested on suspicion of murder had been freed on bail after questioning by detectives.

The man was held in Margate, Kent, on Wednesday, becoming the seventh person to be arrested in the case. He was released on police bail until a date in November.

The June 29 murders of 23-year-old biochemistry students Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez shocked people on both sides of the Channel.

Stop Knives: Families back show of unity

Five grieving families say: Colin, dad of Harry Potter actor Robert Knox, 18, killed in May in Sidcup, South East London: "I'm all for it. The more who march and get involved, the more the Government will listen."

Grace, mum of David Idowu, 14, stabbed on his way home from school in South London: "I am very supportive of the People's March - and any effort to tackle the menace of gun and knife crime that is taking over our society."

Adele, fiancee of Kevin Johnson, 22, stabbed confronting three teenage thugs outside his Sunderland home in May 2007: "This is a wonderful and positive idea from the Daily Mirror. It really is time the carnage was stopped.
"I congratulate the Mirror for taking firm action when politicians only promise to help end this scourge and judges are tied by soft sentencing guidelines."

Josie, mum of Daniel Pollen, 20, the Southampton University student killed at a bus stop in Romford, Essex: "We have to make a stand against the abhorrence of knife crime.

Celebrities join Daily Mirror's blitz on blades

Super Model Naomi Campbell said: "I totally support The People's March. There are far too many young people carrying knives and too many people are dying."

Boxer Amir Khan agreed: "All communities need to address the problems of knife crime and I am proud to give my support."
He urged our readers: "It's time for us all to stand together.
Children of all ages have to be taught that carrying knives or using them is unacceptable."

Singer Jamelia, whose brother Tesrod, 15, was stabbed to death in 1992, said: "I'll speak out against violence whenever I can. In interviews, in songs, in my life. If you stay silent you're part of the problem."

X Factor's Louis Walsh added: "I'm 100 percent behind this campaign. We must get knives off the streets."

Coronation Street's Jack P Shepherd said: "Anything which can help stem the knife menace has my backing. People have to learn that carrying knives isn't acceptable.

TV's Vernon Kay: "It is tragic how many young children have died in stabbing attacks, it's a complete waste of life. I don't want my daughter to grow up in fear of leaving the house, and I'm sure every other mother or father feels the same way."

And boxer Ricky Hatton said: "People think nothing of taking knives on nights out with them. Smoking is banned in pubs so I don't see why knives shouldn't be banned.
"And if it means the extra expense of fitting airport style metal detectors then so be it.
"Failing that people should be searched.
"Anyone taking a knife out with them are n't going out to enjoy themselves - they're out for trouble."

Stop knives save lives: Teenagers who have turned their lives around

With 21 teenagers murdered in the capital alone this year, we ask three young people who turned to violence why they’ve left gang life behind. They’re now appealing for other kids to follow their example.

'My old friends think I’ve gone soft'
It took a prison stretch for possession of a firearm for Luke, 21, to see the light...

'I realised intimidating people won’t get you far'
Ashanti, 19, was expelled from three schools and arrested for a street robbery but now thinks education is the key...

'Violence ain’t gonna make me any money'
Dwayne, 18, used to carry knives and guns for protection. Now he is training to mentor kids at risk of joining gangs...

What can parents do?
- Communication is key – know what you want to talk to your child about and deal with it confidently.
- If they’re coming in late find out where they’ve been and keep track of them by calling their mobile.
- Keep regular contact with their school.
- If they start buying new clothes or DVDs, ask where they are getting the money from.
- Ask who their friends are and suggest they invite them home.
- If you suspect they are involved in gangs, talk to them about the consequences.
- Find something your kids are interested in.
- Get help from council youth workers or your community police support officer.

London Metropolitan police commissions video to tackle knife crime

Britain's biggest police force has commissioned a shocking video to warn teenagers of the dangers of carrying a knife.

The short film by the Metropolitan police will be shown on MTV and other music TV channels and will focus on the impact a stabbing has on the families of the characters.

The Mirror has called for shock tactics as part of our Stop Lives, Save Knives drive.

One idea for the video includes two teenagers, one who carries a knife and one who doesn't, in a confrontation which leaves one dead.

Police make arrest over Battersea street murder

A man has been arrested in connection with the murder of a woman who was stabbed to death in a London street, police said on Sunday.

The 28-year-old man was arrested early on Sunday morning following the stabbing of 23-year-old Gemma Dorman, who was knifed in Battersea, southwest London, on Thursday evening and died later in hospital.

Police have recovered a knife but have not yet ascertained whether it was the murder weapon.

Knife crime has become a top political issue following a spate of violent deaths, mostly stabbings, on the streets of London so far this year.

Man who was stabbed in the neck dies

A man died after he was stabbed in the street at 3.15am yesterday.

The victim, aged 34, was taken to hospital in Erdington, Birmingham, with neck wounds but was dead on arrival. Police appealed for witnesses.

Meanwhile, a man was in a critical but stable condition last night after being stabbed in the street in Blackpool. A 39-year-old woman was arrested.

£3m NHS bill of knife and gun victims

Injuries inflicted by gun and knife crime are costing the NHS more than £3 million a year, a study has revealed.
Stabbings accounted for almost three-quarters of penetrative injuries with an average of £7,196 per victim.

The study looked at injuries leading to immediate admissions for three or more days, or death within 93 days.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Anger over Selfridges stab t-shirt

A top department store has been blasted for selling a T-shirt showing a bloody stab wound with a flick knife sticking out of it.

The designer shirt, which the store has now been forced to remove from the shelves, makes youngsters wearing it look like they have been stabbed in the heart.

Selfridges in London's Oxford Street put the £30 shirt on sale just days after a man died from a single stab wound to the heart on the world famous shopping strip.

Janina Rout, 47, was with a friend buying for her teenage son when she came across the shirt, promoting the LA punk band the Red Hearts.

Janina, a mother of one from Brighton, said: "The shirt was among clothes aimed at young men around the age currently being killed in knife attacks.

"I can't understand why Selfridges would sell such a design at the moment. It simply shouldn't have been there - maybe in a tattoo parlour but not in Selfridges. It's in very poor taste.

"It's not the sort of message they should be putting across at the moment when knife crime is such a problem.

"Even more shocking was that a lad was stabbed to death on Oxford street a few weeks before."

Janina complained to a member of staff who refused her request to remove the Tshirts from sale.

She later called the store before receiving a letter from the company apologising.

A Crimestoppers spokesman, said: "This is fashion at its most reckless. We are amazed that a quality store like Selfridges could be so naive with its buying."

The shirt went on sale soon after Steven Bigby, 22, died during a row outside McDonald's on Oxford Street.

A man was stabbed and died in a flat in a quiet suburban street yesterday.

A groom told yesterday how he and his best man narrowly escaped death after being stabbed during his wedding reception by a gatecrasher.

Joe Pattenden Hunt, 27, said the man, armed with a six-inch steak knife, appeared high on drink and drugs and lashed out as he defended pal Jason Holt.

Jason, 35, bore the brunt of the attack, suffering wounds to his neck, chin, chest, back and stomach. But Joe will also be scarred for life after being slashed on an arm as bride Laura, 27, and 80 guests watched in horror. He said: "I felt like I was going to faint and I could see I was losing a lot of blood. I was very frightened."

Jason added: "I didn't really notice any pain but just felt wet and sticky with the blood running all over my body. It was terrifying."

Laura cradled Joe, who she married in the Scilly Isles last month, before he was rushed to hospital.

She recalled: "I screamed as I thought he and Jason were dying. Joe asked me if it was raining - until he realised his shoes were filling with blood."

The knifeman "went berserk" after he and four other men in their 20s stumbled at 11.30pm into Saturday's fireworks celebrations at Joe's parents' house in Crowborough, East Sussex.

He struck out swearing as landscape gardener Joe, of Wadhurst, and Jason, of Mayfield, wrestled him to the grass.

And Joe now fears knife crime is spreading from inner cities. He said: "I've always felt fortunate to live in the countryside. But this proves violent people are everywhere now."

Matthew Gould, 23, of Crowborough, was yesterday remanded in custody to appear at Lewes crown court in October charged with wounding.

Knifed to death in a quiet road

A man was stabbed and died in a flat in a quiet suburban street yesterday.

The victim, thought to be in his 40s, was found with multiple wounds at home in Streatham, South London.

Neighbours said they heard a woman screaming before police were called.

One said: "It's a shock to hear there's been a murder because this is a quiet road."

At an unrelated stabbing in nearby Croydon a man of 40 suffered knife wounds. Police said there had been no arrests in either case.

Bradford stab victim named

A man killed in a stabbing in Bradford on Friday was named last night as Rashid Elahi, 21. Three men, two held in West London, were being quizzed on suspicion of murder.

Shamed: the police forces that only caution knife thugs

Police forces are letting knife-carrying thugs off with just cautions, a Sunday Mirror investigation has revealed.

Our shocking findings come despite new Government guidelines which say everyone over 16 caught roaming the streets with a blade should be hauled before a court.

We obtained figures from 19 forces across England that show what action they took against people caught carrying knives from March to June this year - and found massive differences.

As our chart on the right shows, in Wiltshire just 15 per cent of those found with knives were charged.

But a crackdown on knife crime in Cheshire means 94 per cent of the thugs were sent to court.

And in London, which has been hit by an epidemic of knife killings this year, almost as many - 90 per cent - were also put before the courts.

On average across the country, more than a third of those caught carrying a knife were let off with a simple police caution - which amounts to no more than a warning.

The latest British Crime Survey has revealed someone is the victim of a knife crime every four minutes and knives are used in about eight per cent of all violent crimes. This year alone 17 teenagers have been stabbed to death in London. Those prosecuted for carrying a knife face jail. The maximum penalty was doubled last year from two to four years.

But fewer than one in five under-18s caught carrying a knife are jailed even when they reach the courts. Our statistics show that across all the forces, around 20 per cent of those caught carrying knives were under 18.

Three charged over teen stabbing

Three young men have been charged with murdering a teenager who was stabbed to death in London last week, police said on Saturday.

Freddy Moody, 18, was found suffering a wound to his abdomen following reports of a fight in Guildford Road, south Lambeth, last Thursday.

He was later pronounced dead in hospital, becoming the 21st teenager to be killed violently in the capital this year.

Detectives said they had charged Jeffrey Adu-Sarfo, 18, Shane Isaacs, 21 and a 17-year-old youth with murder. They are due to appear at Camberwell Magistrates Court later on Saturday.

Exclusive: Brother of youngest knife victim David Idowu speaks out

David Idowu was the kind of boy teachers looked forward to having in their class.

He was a bright, funny, clever lad with an entrepreneurial streak and a fledgling business designing computer graphics.

David was only 14 years old when he died, stabbed in the chest and stomach on his way home from school, his bright red blood spilled on the uniform he was so proud of.

This week, his 18-year-old brother, another bright boy from the inner city, stood fearlessly in front of the Prime Minister and asked him why his brother had to die.

"I was brought up to know if you speak the truth there is nothing to fear," Peter Idowu says later in his darkened sitting room, the blinds pulled down against the outside world.

"My 14-year-old brother died only three miles from Downing Street, and I wanted Mr Brown to tell me why he got stabbed.
"He was not involved in any quarrels. He was not involved in any gang, so how could this happen to him? What did he do to deserve this?"

David's death is a brutal milestone... the youngest victim of the knife epidemic that is blighting Britain. And if the victims are getting younger, so too are the perpetrators.

In Cumbria yesterday a girl of 13 who stabbed a fellow pupil was placed on a 12-month referral order by magistrates and ordered to pay £200 compensation.

A baying mob had filmed the attack on their mobile phones shouting: "This is going on YouTube" as the girl took a craft knife from a classroom and attacked a 15-year-old boy in the playground.

And at the same time detectives are investigating claims that a 10-year-old boy threatened another child with a knife outside a primary school near Chelmsford, Essex. Nobody was killed. But David was not so lucky.

He died in hospital on July 7, almost three weeks after receiving his injuries in the attack five minutes walk from his home on the Tabard Estate in South East London.

Now the Idowus are waiting to bury their son - and waiting for the results of the post-mortem.
"David was the one who lit up the house and made everybody laugh," his older brother Peter says. "Without him our home is so quiet.

"My little brother was very close to David and he has taken it very hard. He is trying to be strong for everyone, but he is only 13."

His mother looks up with red-rimmed eyes from the photographs of David she is sifting through.

"This has got to stop," she says. "No more families should go through this pain."

On Tuesday Peter led hundreds of David's friends and family on a march through South London and across the River Thames to the door of No.10. "We are all backing the Daily Mirror anti-knife campaign," Peter says. "We have to be strong and say that no more young people can die on our streets. This is an emergency."

When the Idowu family were invited into Downing Street, Peter told Gordon Brown how he thought knife crime could be ended.

"The Prime Minister listened to me," he says. "He said I had some very good ideas.What's important now is that things change. He said he will tackle this problem of knives and guns and I hope he will."

Like his brother, David was a thoughtful, hardworking boy deeply worried about knife crime. "He thought about it a lot,"
Peter says. "He had written a speech about knives and guns on our streets that he was due to deliver at a school debating contest just before he died.

"David wanted it to have a good chance at the competition, so he gave it to my dad to read to check it over. My dad said it was so good he was going to take a day off work to see him deliver the speech."

Instead, on the day he should have spoken, David lay critically injured at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, stabbed two days earlier as he walked home in his Walworth Academy uniform.

This week, his family went bravely to the scene, where the railings are decorated with the blue-and silver striped tie of his school.

Exclusive: Mum of stabbed Harry Potter star Rob Knox angry at club closure

The mum of stabbed Harry Potter actor Rob Knox yesterday blasted their council for closing a local football club and leaving kids with nowhere to go.

The club has helped keep children off the streets since 1928, but is due to be demolished to make way for new housing.

Speaking at a charity game organised in honour of her 18-year-old son, who was stabbed to death, mum Sally said: "This club has become crucial to the community. The kids need somewhere to go, so they are not hanging around, bored and getting into trouble.

"If the Government is serious about tackling knife crime they should be creating more activities for teenagers, not knocking down the ones they've got."

Sally added: "Putting my heart and soul into Rob's charity has helped me. If we can give teens somewhere to go after school and on weekends, maybe Rob won't have died in vain." The council claims the site is integral to the regeneration of the area and served notice two weeks ago. They believe they have the right to seize the land because of a £140,000 debt for overdue rent.

But the club says this is cancelled out by maintenance work they have paid for over the years, amounting to around £200,000.

Brother of knifed Harry Potter star Rob Knox speaks for the first time

For 17 years they were inseparable, brothers as well as best friends who did everything together.

Tragically, it was this close bond which led Harry Potter star Robbie Knox to die - stabbed to death protecting his younger brother Jamie.

Now, in his first interview since the shocking killing, Jamie has told how he will never get over Robbie's death and how he is determined to become a movie star to keep his brother's memory alive.

"I just wish I'd had the chance to tell Rob how much I loved him and always looked up to him," said 17-year-old Jamie. "He died protecting me, like he always did and I am immensely proud of him. Rob died for a cause, which was me.

"I can't believe he was snatched away so quickly. Rob always looked after me. He was fair and decent, someone I wanted to be.

"Rob and I were the best of friends. We could have the biggest fight and within five minutes we'd be laughing about it. We couldn't hold a grudge.

"I copied everything he did. I looked up to him a hell of a lot, although I never used to tell him. There's such a huge void in my life now he's gone."

Robbie, 18, died on May 24 just two days after he finished filming Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Jamie, Rob and a close-knit group of friends had decided to celebrate at the Metro Bar near their home in Sidcup, Kent. "It was just a fun hangout and we were having a laugh dancing to the cheesy music," said Jamie.

But a man allegedly armed with two knives arrived at the bar and is said to have threatened Jamie.

Robbie instinctively stepped in to defend his little brother and was attacked himself. The fight then spilled on to the street. It was only later Jamie realised his brother was lying on the pavement covered in blood.

"Everything happened so quickly," said Jamie. "One minute we were enjoying ourselves, the next there was a fight and Rob was on the ground and it was too late. It felt surreal, like I was living out a nightmare."

Four other friends were injured - one, Dean Saunders, 21, is now in a wheelchair after he was stabbed three times in the neck.

Rob was the 14th teenager to be killed in London since January, yet the toll has continued to climb and has now reached 21.

Teenager was stabbed to death over a row during a water fight

The teenager stabbed to death yards from his home was killed over a row during a water fight.

Frederick Moody, 18, became the 21st teenager to die in London this year when he was ambushed by a gang of up to eight hoodies.

Witnesses heard the killers shout "leave him for dead" before fleeing on bikes in Stockwell, South London.
Frederick, known as Freddy, staggered a few hundred years before collapsing from his stomach wounds at 7pm on Thursday night.

Neighbour Sharon Smith, 23, ran into the road after hearing shouts and cradled the dying teen in her arms as another neighbour soaked up the blood with towels. Sharon said: "His eyes were rolling back in his head and he was murmuring. A doctor from a local surgery started CPR then ambulances arrived and tried to resuscitate him but it didn't work." Freddy was taken to St Thomas Hospital but died at 8.15pm.

One boy said a row erupted with a gang at the Summer Splash water fight in Holland Park, West London.

The aspiring rapper lived near Stockwell tube station on a leafy street where houses cost £1million. Edward Garnier, Tory shadow justice minister, lives around the corner.

Freddy's stepbrother Elliott Amoakoh, 24, said: "He was never in trouble or associated with violence. I can't understand it."
A 16-year-old was arrested yesterday morning in Brixton.

Fancy dress funeral for murdered Ben Kinsella

Stars from the world of entertainment joined more than 1,000 mourners today for the funeral of murdered teenager Ben Kinsella.

Dozens of the 16-year-old's friends dressed up in colourful clown wigs, outsized sunglasses and Daily Mirror Stop Knives Save Lives campaign t-shirts for his funeral today.

They were joined at the service by a number of former EastEnders stars, politicians and actors.

In a deliberate twist from traditional funeral convention, many of Ben's friends came dressed in bright colours with some bearing a single white or red rose.

And in another break from tradition, the teenager's purple coffin was brought out from the church to sustained applause.

Former EastEnders' stars Michelle Ryan, Gillian Taylforth and James Alexandrou were joined by actress Linda Robson, the father of murdered schoolboy Damilola Taylor, Richard, and Islington North Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn for the service.

His sister Brooke, wearing a yellow dress, mum Debbie, dad George and sisters Jade and Georgia moved quickly through the throng to take their places inside the church.

Another touching tribute read: "I love you, you were a beautiful star and now you will shine even brighter. I miss you so much. I love you even more." It was signed "B".

Some mourners broke down in tears as members of Ben's family carried his coffin into the church, accompanied by the Michael Jackson song "Ben".

Two hearses lead a large procession of funeral cars which crammed into the street outside.

Each of the cars was bedecked with floral tributes. The lead hearse bearing a huge pair of red sunglasses.

Other poignant tributes included a football made of flowers, a large letter X representing a kiss, and arrangements reading "son", "cousin" and "great nephew".

The road outside the church was closed due to the huge amount of people attending the service.

Police later estimated that more than 1,000 mourners had been inside the church alone.

Three teenagers have been charged with Ben's murder.

Juress Kika, 18, Michael Alleyne, 18, and Jade Braithwaite, 19, appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court and have been remanded in custody to October 13.

Murdered teen assaulted by "up to eight" attackers

Police investigating the knife murder of an 18-year-old male youth in south London said on Friday he had been assaulted by up to eight hooded attackers.

Officers arrested a 16-year-old boy over the murder at his home in Brixton in the early hours of the morning.

Police had been called on Thursday evening to reports of a fight in Guildford Road, south Lambeth, and found the 18-year-old stabbed in the abdomen.

He was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

"It is believed that up to eight males were involved in the assault on the victim," Scotland Yard said.

"The suspects are described at this early stage as wearing hooded tops and some were possibly in possession of bikes."

Knife crime has become a top political issue in recent weeks with a spate of violent deaths, mostly stabbings, on the streets of London so far this year.

EastEnders star Brooke Kinsella makes heartfelt plea on knife crime as she lays murdered brother Ben to rest

Grieving Brooke Kinsella today makes a heart-rending plea to end knife crime as she lays murdered brother Ben to rest.

She says: "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 former EastEnders star speaks out as official figures disclose that a knife attack is carried out every four minutes, adding urgency to the Mirror's Stop Knives, Save Lives campaign. She declares: "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. I'm so glad the Mirror is spotlighting the terrifying facts. Hopefully, it will shake us up."

Brooke, 25 yesterday, says: "Ben's personality was so bright we've asked people to come in colourful clothes.

"There'll be lots of sunglasses, too. They'll help hide our tears. It's going to be a totally overwhelming day."

Gordon Brown yesterday urged people not to try to break up street violence.

After saying his thoughts were with the Kinsella family today, he said: "You have to be very careful. Phone the police and get them to take the necessary action."

The Premier added: "If you have a knife you could end up in prison. That's the message we have to get across."

Cricketers join our Stop Knives Save Lives campaign

Four of England's cricketers pose proudly as they add their support to the Mirror's Stop Knives Save Lives campaign.

Wearing T-shirts bearing a picture of 16-year-old stab victim Ben Kinsella, players Tim Ambrose, Stuart Broad, Alistair Cook and captain Michael Vaughan became the latest stars to join our bid to end the violence on the streets. Vaughan said: "We would like to send our sympathies to those families who have lost loved ones due to knife crime. It is having a devastating impact. We are happy to lend our support to this campaign."

They were pictured at Headingley in Leeds where today they will play South Africa just as Ben's family and friends gather for his funeral.

Lily Allen meets mayor Boris Johnson to talk knife crime

Lily Allen has had an audience with London Mayor Boris Johnson to give her views on the current knife crime situation.

The singer spent 45 minutes canvassing the Mayor at City Hall after posting a direct appeal to the capital's Tory chief on her Myspace internet site.

Lily outlined several proposals to help challenge the idea that knife crime is cool and to encourage teenagers to be more ambitious about their future.

Johnson said afterwards: "I welcome any constructive suggestions on combating knife crime and Lily Allen has already proved her commitment to help address this problem. I welcome her proposals and am keen to explore further how she can help us address this serious and distressing problem.

"There is nothing romantic or glamorous about knife crime and I'm delighted Lily will be using her considerable profile and fan base to spread that message."

The meeting was sparked by Lily's original post earlier this month on her blog which said: "Please can everyone stop stabbing each other in the UK. It's really sad, my thoughts are with all the families affected by these heinous crimes.

"We need to have a knife amnesty, we should put on a big concert to raise awareness and stop the violence, Boris, if your listening call me man. Speak soon peeps xxx."

Lily also suggested holding an awareness-raising pop concert, but nothing has come of that idea yet.

Shock new figures reveal a knife crime takes place every four minutes in Britain

Shocking new figures released today show that a knife crime takes place every four minutes in Britain.

The grim picture was revealed in annual crime figures which showed that police recorded 22,151 offences involving knives last year in England and Wales.

The figures - which have been collected only since April last year - showed offences involving knives included 231 attempted murders, 11,528 personal robberies, 2,359 business robberies and more than 8,000 woundings.

The highest number of knife offences - 7,409 - took place in London alone with the West Midlands having the second highest figure with 2,303 incidents. Third was Greater Manchester with 2,294.

The figures also showed that the menace of knife crime is not just confined to cities with Devon and Cornwall recording 288 offences, Northumbria, 351 and Thames Valley, 329.

Other mainly rural forces with significant numbers of knife crimes included Sussex with 274, Hampshire with 388, Kent with 327, Bedfordshire with 316, Cheshire with 224 and North Wales with 108.

Serious violent crimes involving a blade have previously been bundled with other attacks, but since April last year officers have recorded them separately in light of growing public concern.

The figures come on the day Home Secretary Jacqui Smith published a new package of police reforms, including a resurrection of plans to merge police forces.

Police arrest 6th suspect over French students case

Police arrested a sixth suspect on Thursday in connection with the frenzied murders of two French students, which caused shock on both sides of the Channel.

London's Metropolitan Police said they had arrested a 28-year-old man for attempting to pervert the course of justice after he presented himself at a south London police station. He has been bailed to return on August 25.

Last week, police charged Nigel Farmer, 33, and Daniel Sonnex, 23, with the murders of 23-year-old students Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez.

Farmer was additionally charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice and arson while Sonnex was also charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Another man and a woman have also been arrested and freed on bail but were not charged.

Police have previously described the June 29 murders as among the most gruesome crimes they have ever encountered. The pair were tied up, Bonomo was stabbed almost 200 times, Ferez had nearly 50 knife wounds and the apartment was set ablaze.

The slayings took place at a time when there has been a wave of knife crime in London, drawing attention from the media and politicians with French newspapers saying the murders showed how dangerous London has become.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Exclusive: US rocker Ted Nugent's outrageous rant on UK knife crime

American rock star Ted Nugent has followed in Lily Allen's footsteps to be the latest celebrity to comment on the UK's knife crime problem.

However, unlike Lily, he's set to spark controversy with his outrageous views.

An advocate of hunting and gun-ownership rights, Nugent currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association and thinks the problem would stop if Britons were allowed to arm themselves with guns.

Talking mid-set during his gig at London's Indigo venue in the 02 Arena on Monday night, he said: "I understand that London has a knife problem. That's because you took everybody's guns away."

He continued: "If you had a f***ing gun you could shoot the motherf*****s with the knife. Do you need me to explain that to you dumb Limey motherf******? In Detroit, we don't have a knife problem. The knife motherf*****s got a Ted problem."

"'Oooh, he's got a knife, I'll pretend I'm from England'. [Imitates firing a gun]. Take that motherf****r. [Then pretends to call 911]: 'You might wanna bring a dustpan and broom because there's a big puddle of shit on the sidewalk'. That's what you call a deterrent. That motherf****r ain't gonna knife no-one ever again."

It's unlikely anti-knife campaigners are going to take Nugent's ideas seriously however.

Teen awarded for gang crime campaign

A teen was honoured yesterday for his campaign against gang crime after his friend was stabbed to death at 16.

Alexander Rose sold T-shirts with an anti-youth crime message on eBay after Eugene Attram died in 2006. He has also worked with the police and invited to 10 Downing Street.

The 19-year-old, of Tooting, South London, was given an Anne Frank Award for his courage at a ceremony in London. He said: "Eugene was an innocent person caught up in gang warfare. I want to make sure others don't go down that path."

Deadly knives that "explode" in their victims

Police fear gangs may arm themselves with deadly knives that "explode" in their victims.

American-made hunters' Wasp knives, costing £200, are designed to kill sharks and bears by thrusting a frozen compressed gas ball into them. It expands to the size of a basketball, instantly freezing surrounding organs.

A police source said: "This knife will almost certainly kill. It's only a matter of time before one of them is used."

Steven Gerrard & pals join campaign to keep knives off the streets

Top football stars have joined the campaign to keep knives off our streets.

England players Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard and ex-captain Alan Shearer, have all been shocked by the spate of stabbings across the UK.

And now they are urging youngsters to turn away from crime and harness their aggression in the boxing ring. They are backing a drive called Gloves Not Guns, Gangs or Knives.

Launched by the Amateur Boxing Association of England, it aims to improve facilities for children and get them to leave the streets for the gym.

Striker Michael Owen said: "Boxing teaches kids about controlled discipline, respect and being positive. I'm sure it will help kids from all backgrounds and communities." Sam Rush at ABAE said: "We've all got a part to play - we can make a difference."

Boxing stars Ricky Hatton and Amir Khan have offered to give master classes.

Courts to name and shame teen yobs

Courts will name and shame teen yobs to cut stabbings and youth crime, it was revealed yesterday.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw is urging judges and magistrates to lift restrictions that stop under-18s being identified in the dock.

Youths are usually only named in exceptional cases involving extreme violence.

Mr Straw said: "We want to divert young people away from crime so they are not unnecessarily drawn into the criminal justice system."
Naming and shaming is just one of the measures in the Youth Crime Action Plan to cut the numbers ending up before the courts.
They will be expected to say sorry, make amends to victims and do unpaid community work instead.

Ben Kinsella's EastEnder pal Joe backs our Stop Knives Save Lives campaign

Eastenders star Joe Swash is supporting the Mirror's Stop Knives Save Lives campaign.

The actor, who played Mickey Miller in the BBC1 soap, has been friends with Brooke Kinsella and her family since childhood.

Devastated by her brother Ben's death, Joe yesterday threw his celebrity weight firmly behind our efforts. He said: "I've known Brooke and her family since I was around six and known Ben since he was a nipper.

"I've never met a more loving family in my life ...and the thought that someone took their little Ben from them makes me feel sick.

"Brooke is still one of my closest friends and the other day she came around to my flat, just to get out of her own house for a while because it's simply so full of grief.

"We had a cuddle and a chat. I think losing Ben has not quite sunk in for her yet because she's been so busy, using Ben's death as a catalyst to stop all the knife violence. She's so tiny and frail and I just want to look after her. And Ben was such a lovely, loving, charming young gentleman.

"He was one of those kids who just wanted to get on with his life - always playing football or acting and never just hanging round the streets. He never got into trouble. But then my Mum called me to tell me that Ben had been killed after she heard about it on the news.

"For Ben's funeral, the family want people to wear funky sunglasses, which he always loved, and bright colours to celebrate his life.

"I last saw Ben a week before he died, when Brooke and I teased him about becoming a man and being taller than us. I feel lucky to have nice memories of him laughing and smiling.

The Mirror demands...
1 Give our police tools to catch knife thugs
2 Launch amnesty to bring in theblades
3 Nurses must report treating stab victims
4 Teach all pupils that knives solve nothing
5 Texts and internet will help win battle

Gordon Brown's tough crackdown on knife crime

Knife thugs will be forced to clean up the streets on Friday and Saturday nights in an effort to stop the shocking violence blighting Britain.

Gordon Brown yesterday ruled out automatic jail sentences for anybody caught carrying a blade but pledged stiffer community punishments.

And he vowed to shame youngsters into binning their knives by making them wear a special uniform while carrying out up to 300 hours of graffiti cleaning or sweeping the streets.

As part of his plan to get to grips with young criminals, Mr Brown also wants to see problem families identified and given "parenting contracts" spelling out when children can be allowed out.

He has called for town halls to use powers to introduce curfews for under-16s.

And he wants 20,000 of the most out-of-control families to be given their own government advisers to help turn their lives around or face council house eviction.

Mr Brown's anti-knife proposals came amid an embarrassing U-turn by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith over plans to take knife thugs on tours of accident and emergency departments to see the consequences of their actions.

On Sunday, Miss Smith had outlined the plan for thugs to tour casualties.
But yesterday she insisted: "We are not, and I have never said we are, proposing to bring young people into wards to see patients face to face."

LibDem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said: "Thank heavens the Home Secretary has seen sense.
"This idea is not just bonkers, but has been tried, tested and failed in the US."

Knife crime: Gordon Brown warns parents to keep children under control

Gordon Brown warned parents today they had a duty to keep their children under control amid escalating public fears about youth knife crime.

Up to 20,000 families could face eviction from their homes if they fail to rein in their offspring, the Prime Minister said.

They are among 110,000 households in which children are thought to be at risk of becoming prolific offenders - and where authorities are to target special support.

Youngsters who carry knives were also threatened with being forced to spend their Friday and Saturday nights carrying out hundreds of hours of community punishment.

After a series of high-profile stabbings which has thrust knife crime to the top of the political agenda, Mr Brown acknowledged today that many people felt unsafe in their own homes.

"Too many people, young and old, do not feel safe in the streets, and sometimes even in their homes, as a result of the behaviour of a minority," he told his regular Downing Street press conference.

Foreshadowing a £100 million youth crime action plan to be published tomorrow, Mr Brown said community punishments would be strengthened to make them "tough, visible and effective".

Video clips of horrific injuries to be sent to young people in fight against knives

Graphic videos will be emailed to youngsters to shock them out of knife crime under a major drive unveiled yesterday.

The move follows a call by the Daily Mirror's Stop Knives, Save Lives campaign for greater use of text messaging and the internet to tackle blade violence.

The film clips made by Tower Hamlets Council show the bloody effects of knife attacks and will be posted on internet sites such as YouTube and Bebo.

They will also be sent at random to mobile phones via Bluetooth, with young people being encouraged to forward them on.

One video shows a young man with blood gushing from a deep wound to his neck. It ends with the message: "Carry a knife and you risk being stabbed on your own blade."

Another features a doctor talking about the seriousness of knife wounds while a third depicts staged CCTV footage of a street attack.

It comes after two more victims were knifed to death at the weekend. There are an average 56 stabbings a day nationwide. Twenty teenagers have died from the blade in London this year.

Two more dead and five injured in weekend of knife crime

Britain suffered another bloody weekend of knife crime, which left two dead and five more injured.

Three of the attacks were in Bolton, Greater Manchester, where 30-year-old Paul Gilligan, from Little Hulton, died after he was stabbed in the chest and shoulder on Saturday night.

A 19-year-old youth has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

On Friday, a 19-year-old was stabbed in the neck as he sat in his car in Bolton.

He was stable in hospital yesterday.

Earlier on Friday a 24-year-old man was stabbed in the same road after he approached by a man to ask for a cigarette.

There was a row and he was stabbed in the side.

A murder investigation was also under way in Bristol, where a man was stabbed to death during a street disturbance.

He was named by locals as 43-year-old father of four Johnny Derrick, who suffered knife wounds to the head and chest in the Withywood area of the city.

He was rushed to hospital in a critical condition where doctors fought to save him, but he died yesterday morning. Police said he died after a "domestic" dispute.