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.