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Islington Tribune - by SIMON WROE and TOM FOOT
Published: 12 June 2009

Ben Kinsella’s father being comforted by friends outside the Old Bailey

‘If you don’t look after the youth it will come back on you‘ warning

COMMUNITY leaders have warned that murdered schoolboy Ben Kinsella and his convicted killers were let down by “a total lack” of youth opportunities in the area.
One man and two teenagers – Michael Alleyne, 18, Juress Kika, 19, and Jade Braithwaite, 20 – were found guilty of the 16-year-old’s murder at the Old Bailey yesterday (Thursday).
Both Braithwaite and Alleyne had been on probation for a drugs offence and a robbery while Kika had only been released on bail for a robbery offence five days before the murder.
Concerns about the failure of the authorities to closely monitor the killers before the murder were expressed yesterday by a senior member of the union representing probation officers and by Islington South MP Emily Thornerry.
Residents now fear repercussions against the family of one of the killers, Michael Alleyne, who live on the Market estate in Holloway.
Ben had been celebrating the end of his exams with friends at Shillibeers Bar before he was stabbed 11 times in five seconds on North Road in June last year.
One year on from Ben’s death, residents and politicians remain concerned about unemployment and disillusionment among young people.
Dave Ryan, head coach at Times Boxing Club in Tiber Gardens, said: “The police realise there’s a problem with the Cally. There’s nothing in the area for these kids. What happened to Ben has always happened in this area but it’s got worse – the kids doing it have got younger.
“The kids feel rejected and disillusioned because they can’t get work. If you don’t look after the youth it will come back on you.”
He added: “All the football pitches have been sold off. There’s got to be more investment in the community. King’s Cross is one of the biggest building projects in Europe.
“There should be jobs there for local kids.”
Jeremy Corbyn, Labour MP for Islington North, said: “We have to get to a place where our teenagers do not feel they have to carry a knife and that they are able to communicate properly with each other.”
Labour MP Emily Thornberry called for tougher penalties for teenagers found with knives. Last year she supported police in the use of controversial new powers allowing them to stop and search people for knives.
She added: “It is to do with the inability of all teenagers to fully understand the consequences of their actions. That is part of growing up.” She said that the Justice department is due to make recommendations today about the role of all services, including probation, in Islington.
Ms Thornberry said: “There have been very serious lapses in the care and supervision of these three young men. I understand there was a failure of the system and possibly of certain individuals. The difficulty was that they were on the cusp of going from youth to adulthood and may have fallen between different organisations.”
Harry Fletcher, assistant secretary of the National Association of Probation Officers said his members were “extremely over-stretched and worked very long hours in Islington”.
The police and the probation service didn’t have the resources to monitor high-risk offenders, he added.
Nick Kyriacou, chairman of York Way Estate Residents’ Association, said a number of youths had told him they no longer carried knives after Ben’s stabbing. But he added that the numbers of youths drinking in public around the estate had risen in recent years.
“We’ve known the boys [accused] since they were kids,” he added. “What happened that night just got out of hand because of drink.”

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I WAS unemployed for over 5 years as a youth in a troubled northern city. I never once took this as an excuse to commit violent acts.These men are animals. This kind of behaviour has been a blight on this part of London for too long. Excuses over.

TWO of the murderers never had a drink that night, and neither did any of their family at the Old Bailey abusing the victims family on sentence day. The lot of them will rot in hell. Sort the kids out before its to late
Des Kinsella

THAT is why i moved out of there. I was worried about the safety of my children.


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