Harry Potter actor murder trial: LATEST
PUBLISHED: 11:27 12 February 2009 | UPDATED: 16:08 25 August 2010
THE heartbroken family of dead Harry Potter actor Rob Knox arrived at the Old Bailey this week to face the man accused of his murder. Unemployed Karl Bishop, 21, of Carlton Road, Sidcup, stands accused of stabbing to death promising actor Mr Knox outsid
THE heartbroken family of dead Harry Potter actor Rob Knox arrived at the Old Bailey this week to face the man accused of his murder.
Unemployed Karl Bishop, 21, of Carlton Road, Sidcup, stands accused of stabbing to death promising actor Mr Knox outside the Metro Bar in Sidcup and injuring five others last May - all charges he denies.
The death of the Harry Potter actor of Maidstone Road, Swanley, sparked a massive outpouring of grief in the community and around the capital as fears of spiraling knife crime rocked the country.
Knox, 18, a drama school student, was the 14th teenager killed in the capital in 2008, a year blighted by a total of 28 violent deaths of young men in London.
There were 277 fatal stabbings in England and Wales, the number reaching its highest point for the past 30 years - the equivalent of five every week.
But Mr Knox's death was the second to hit the community in just two weeks after the death of 'gentle giant' Jimmy Mizen, son of Sidcup businessman Barry, on May 11, days after his 16th birthday.
Though unrelated, the death of two popular young men rocked the community and, as reported in the
Times, teenagers held nightly vigils outside the bar and Somerfield near Sidcup station.
Flowers, banners and graffiti messages from grief-stricken teens were placed there in tribute to Mr Knox. He is due to appear in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince this July as Ravenclaw student Marcus Belby.
He was described as "faultless", "decent and "respectful".
Father of Mr Knox's best friend Nick Jones, Lee, told the Times: "This is two youngsters in two weeks. It's crazy."
More than 200 frightened residents turned out to a last-minute police street meeting demanding an end to the violence.
One resident told the Times: "I am scared and disgusted. Two stabbings in Sidcup...is too much."
Mourning for the former Beths Grammar School pupil culminated in his funeral on June 25 at St John the Evandelist Church in Sidcup, attended by schoolmates and fellow actors including Rupert Grint who stars as Ron Weasley in the films.
The funeral came just days before Mr Knox, who also appeared on The Bill, was given a posthumous award for bravery by North Kent Police.
Parents Colin and Sally Knox collected the award which commended his bravery the year before when he helped catch two men who assaulted someone in Marks and Spencer, Bluewater where he used to work.
Colin Knox said: "That was Rob - he thought about other people first and not himself."
In July, students at D&B School of Performing Arts in Bromley dedicated a special performance for their fellow student and friend at Catford's Broadway Theatre. l See pages 2 &3
His agent, Bonnie Sullivan said: "The only comfort that I have taken from this horrible thing is that I know Rob has just had the best three months of his life."
In the months running up to the trial, the families of Rob Knox and Jimmy Mizen have come together to create a positive change in the community.
Rob Knox's uncle, Kevin May, 48, a legal representative from Sidcup, decided to launch Make a Difference in the wake of his nephew's killing, a campaign which aims to build community spirit, improve relations within families and build bridges between young and old.
He was invited to attend the launch of Mayor Boris Johnson's Strategic Framework for Preventing Youth Violence last November and has "big plans" for the year ahead including the launch of a community theatre scheme and 'making a difference' to a housing estate in Woolwich.
Mr May was also involved in the people's march and memorial rugby match staged between the Knox and Mizen families in September.
He said: "We believe very strongly that this is a long-term problem. We've done the march and the rugby match but we need to continue on.
"It's really important that we give opportunities to all sorts of people. And it doesn't always have to be about sport.
"With something like community theatre it's not just about the actors. It's about the guy who's building the stage as well, it involves everyone.
"A lot of people think something terrible like what's happened to our families isn't going to happen to them. But they shouldn't kid themselves. You can't just turn your back on this. We have to be aware as people from Sidcup, Kent and the nation as a whole that this can happen. And when it does, trust me, it's not nice."
Barry Mizen, 56, who owns a shoe repair shop on High Street, Sidcup, insisted it was "important that we all pull in the same direction" and said he "fully supports the work Kevin is trying to do".
He said: "What's happened has happened. You're not going to change that. There's extreme violence in our society from everybody. But we're in this together. What I wonder is where we've lost our way in society, is it a lack of opportunities for young people?
"We can scream and shout at those who commit these crimes and bang them up for 50 years, or come at it from another angle. Let's build up what we've got. Let's put something back in. If there's still family breakdown, fine - we can support each other.
"Society has disintegrated because we've all been focused on ourselves, on greed. It's been coming for years. We're now reaping the society we've been sowing for the past 20 to 30 years. It's extremely painful for the people involved, believe me."
For more information on Mr May's campaign visit www.youcanmakeadifference.org.uk.
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