Honoured Islington priest still praying for tragic murder victims Ben Kinsella, Nass Osawe and Martin Dinnegan

Islington’s former top Catholic priest has spoken of how he still prays for three tragic teenage murder victims and their families more than two years after leaving the borough.

Father Jim Kennedy says stab-victims Nass Osawe, 16, and Martin Dinnegan, 14, both killed in 2007, and Ben Kinsella, 16, who died in 2008, are still in his thoughts and prayers every day.

He was speaking about his time in Islington this week after finally being handed the Freedom of the Borough by the Mayor of Islington.

The 68-year-old said: “If I think back, the things that stick in my mind were the terrible murders in Islington. Ben Kinsella, Nass Osawe and Martin Dinnegan. I remember those boys in my prayers.

“They were the youth in Islington, and they were struck down. In the end, that’s what I remember most.”

Father Kennedy was chosen for the honour in 2010, but could not make the ceremony because he is now based in Cyprus.

He was the parish priest at Blessed Sacrament Church in Copenhagen Street, Islington, for 23 years before he left in 2009, as well as being the Catholic borough dean in Islington. He was an active member of the community whose efforts included founding the Islington Veterans’ Association, chairing the council’s standards committee and helping to organise the Remembrance Day ceremony every year.

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He joins the likes of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and drama teacher Anna Scher in receiving the highest honour the borough can bestow. He said: “I was very honoured and humbled, because all these people have done far more than me.”

Cllr Phil Kelly, Mayor of Islington, said: “Jim is warmly remembered by those who worked with him in the church, the community and the council. This award recognises his major and unique contribution to the life of the borough.”