Editor’s comment: Why we’re marking 10 years since Ben Kinsella’s knife murder
- Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima
We spent no small amount of time discussing how we should cover the 10th anniversary of Ben Kinsella’s murder.
No newspaper editor wants to depress readers. And since June 29, 2008, it hasn’t all been bad news.
Knife crime has shot up the national agenda: our former chief reporter Meyrem Hussein reflects on that on page 10. Campaigners like Ben’s family have done amazing work educating kids about the dangers of carrying blades: see what Brooke has to say on pages 4-5. Some, but not enough, money has been invested in youth services: check out what the integrated gangs unit is doing on page 13. And youth knife crime in Islington fell last year – an important achievement, albeit a rather specific one, covering only victims under 25.
That doesn’t, for example, include Nashon Esbrand, two years older at 27, murdered in Mitchison Road last summer. I remember only too well the police tape down the road from my house that night; the office phone ringing off the hook as one after another his devastated friends called us in tearful disbelief to leave tributes. It is with the worst, saddest irony that, 10 years after Ben’s death, the top story in the Gazette is about three young men – one the same age as Ben when he died – starting life terms for Nashon’s killing.
Twenty-seven people have been stabbed to death in Islington in a decade. The first was three weeks after Ben died, the most recent a few weeks ago. Laid out in the Gazette on pages 6-7, it makes efforts to beat the epidemic look feeble. There it is in black and white: a handful of names for each and every year. The heartbreaking knowledge the list will in all likelihood continue to grow. Behind every name a life, and a life sentence of grief for a community of family and friends.
The good work being done is plainly not enough.