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Camden News - by ROISIN GADELRAB
Published: 3 July 2008

Ben's mother Deborah with his sister Brooke at the scene of his killing that has become a huge shrine
‘This wasn’t about gangs, this was a nothing incident in a pub that climaxed in a death’

Police urge witnesses to the latest teenage stabbing to come forward as victim’s family pay tribute to 16-year-old ‘role model’ knifed in the street

BEN Kinsella was more than just a soap star’s brother.
To his closest friends he was one of the most popular boys at school, to his teachers he was a talented role model with a bright future opening up ahead of him and to his family he was simply an “angel”.
The giant shrine, a sea of flowers and cards, dressed with scarves and shirts in the colours of his beloved Arsenal football team, marks the spot where the 16-year-old was stabbed at the junction of York Way and North Road.
Detectives are trying to piece together how Ben got “sucked into” a dispute in the Shillibeers bar. He had been at the venue, at the other end of North Road, celebrating completing his GCSE exams. A fight broke out and led to among 50 youths spilling out on the streets. After a chase, Ben was stabbed several times and died later at the Whittington Hospital early on Sunday.
The police investigation has involved officers scouring drains for the murder weapon. Two knives have been recovered. CCTV footage is also being analysed. Three teenagers were last night (Wednesday) being questioned on suspicion of murder, while earlier in the day a fourth was released on bail. A fresh appeal was made at a police press conference yesterday with detectives suggesting that teenagers with information had yet to come forward.
On Tuesday hundreds of Ben’s schoolfriends, prompted by an overnight internet campaign, joined his grieving family – including his sister Brooke, once an actress in EastEnders – in a traffic-stopping march from Islington Town Hall, past Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s Holloway home and on to the murder scene.
Brooke, speaking on behalf of parents Deborah, a secretary, and cabbie George, as well as her sisters, Jade, 22, and Georgia, 14, who live in Islington, said: “Please, boys and girls, put down your knives and weapons and think about the pain and suffering they will cause.
“Parents, please talk to your children and encourage them to stop all this violence. Please can we waste no more time and come together as a country, to ensure that no other lives are wasted.”
Among the marchers was Linda Robson, the Birds of Feather actress, whose son Louis cradled Ben as he lay dying on the street.
She said: “It’s got to stop. How many more families will be hurt? It’s getting worse.
“They’d all finished their GCSEs. They asked if they could go. We dropped our son round, rang him every half hour. Louis is distraught still. We have to take him for counselling. Everyone found with a knife has to be locked away.”
In an emotional TV interview earlier in the week Ms Robson said her son, Ben and others were out celebrating but had not been causing any trouble or drinking alcohol.
Tafi Chandiwana, 15, a pupil at Holloway School where Ben studied, said: “We need to give more options to kids. There are so many rules now. You’re stopped by police for all sorts of things, they’re giving every child a bad background.”
Teaching assistant Jenny Hewitt said: “Ben was funny, popular, and well-respected at school – a role model. We’ve a responsibility to reassess what we’re providing for young people. We’re constantly going for exams and losing a sense of what a school needs to be and, as a result, producing young people who are fragmented.”
Detective Chief Inspector John Macdonald, of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said: “There’s a reluctance of people, who I know have information of importance, to come forward. We have no issue with protecting witnesses. In Shillibeers there may have been 100-150 people. Ben had absolutely nothing to do with any of this. He wasn’t involved in any disturbance in the pub or anything outside afterwards. This was over a minor, nothing incident in the pub when one or two of Ben’s associates were involved in an argument with some other people. It’s not gang-related as far as we know.”
Detective Superintendent Vic Rae added: “How Ben got sucked into this disturbance is unclear but it climaxed with his tragic stabbing.”

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