Ben: Carrying a knife should mean 10 years in jail, say relatives

GRIEF-STRICKEN relatives marching for peace in memory of stabbed teenager Ben Kinsella demanded that anybody caught carrying a knife should be jailed for 10 years.

GRIEF-STRICKEN relatives marching for peace in memory of stabbed teenager Ben Kinsella demanded that anybody caught carrying a knife should be jailed for 10 years.

Great-uncle Danny Kinsella and cousin Kim Marshall fought back the tears as they spoke at the spot where the 16-year-old - the brother of TV soap star Brooke Kinsella - was repeatedly stabbed in the early hours of Sunday. Members of the grieving family were among the hundreds of people, dressed in white and carrying a huge banner simply daubed with the words "Why Ben", who marched from Islington Town Hall to the scene of the stabbing - the corner of York Way and North Road in Holloway - on Tuesday afternoon.

Great-uncle Danny Kinsella, 55, said: "Everyone knows what's right or wrong but they don't know the consequences. If they get caught carrying a knife, they just get a slap on the wrist. We need 10 years for carrying a knife - a mandatory 10 years. And 10 years should mean 10 years.

"When you give them 18 months, or two years' community service, that's a trophy to put on their sleeves. Until the justice system makes young people face up to it, this will just go on and on. He continued: "It's not the parents asking the government to protect us, it's the kids themselves who want to feel safe. This is their protest.

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"I got the phone call on Sunday and I was just devastated. To receive a phone call to say that one of your babies has been killed - it was just horrendous. People say young people carry knives to protect themselves but Ben was running away. He was chased. What were they protecting themselves from? That boy didn't have a bad bone in his body. He wanted to be a graphic designer, a footballer, an actor."

Ben's cousin Kim Marshall, of the York Way Estate agreed. She said: "It should be a mandatory 10 years for being caught with a knife. And for being in possession of a knife that killed my Ben - that should be prison for life. "Not all teenagers are bad. Our children need to be able to go out. They need to be able to have a life - and now we will have to lock them away."

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Ben, who lived with his family in Lonsdale Square, Barnsbury, had gone to Shillibeers bar in North Road with friends on Saturday.There was an argument outside. Ben ended up being separated from his friends and chased up the road before being stabbed repeatedly in his back and chest at around 2am on Sunday.

He was taken to The Whittington Hospital in Magdala Avenue, Archway, but was pronounced dead at 7.24am. A post mortem gave the cause of death as multiple stab wounds.

Police recovered two knives at the scene. It is thought Ben was stabbed up to 11 times with more than one knife.

Ben's family - youth worker mum Deborah, 46, cabbie dad George, 48, and sisters, Georgia, 14, Jade, 22, and former EastEnders star Brooke, 24 - were left devastated. The day after the killing, Brooke - who played Kelly Taylor in the BBC soap - made a statement calling on youngsters to lay down their knives.

Ben's friends then clubbed together to organise the huge march on social networking site Facebook.

More than 500 people, led by Brooke wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a picture of Ben as a baby, marched to the scene - stopping outside Mayor of London Boris Johnson's home in Furlong Road and also outside Shillibeers on the way.They shouted: "What are we here for? Ben. Why are we here? No knives."

Friend Max Tshoukas, 16, of Caledonian Road, Islington, turned up wearing a picture emblazoned with the names of Ben and fellow Islington teenage knife victims Martin Dinnegan and Nassirudeen Osawe. He said: "Something definitely needs to be done. I have never carried a knife and I never will."

Vincent Payne, 16, of Enfield, who went to primary school with Ben, said: "I only spoke to him a few days before it happened and he was going to come out for a drink. If there was a fight, he was the one who tried to stop it.

"I wanted to come down and pay my respects. I have thought about carrying a knife before. I definitely won't after this."

Detective Superintendent Vic Rae, of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said: "We know there was a disturbance inside Shillibeers nightclub and this disturbance spilled out into North Road.

"How Ben got sucked into this disturbance is unclear but it climaxed at the junction with York Way with his tragic and fatal stabbing. We believe there were a number of people inside the club and outside in the street and are appealing for witnesses to come forward. We need those people to contact us with any information they may have. Ben's death is a meaningless waste of life."

Anyone with information should call the incident room on 0208 345 3985 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Two 18-year-old men from Chadwell Heath, east London, and a 19-year-old man from Bethnal Green, east London, were in custody after being arrested on Monday and Tuesday on suspicion of murder.

An 18-year-old man from Islington was also arrested on Monday on suspicion of murder - but has been released on bail until August. Two 16-year-old boys, arrested at the scene, are also on bail until August.

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