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Memorial service to murdered sons demands a peace legacy

PUBLISHED: 13:05 13 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:56 25 August 2010

HAND OF SUPPORT: Prince Charles meets Jamie Knox while his dad and mum, Colin and Sally Knox, watch on.

HAND OF SUPPORT: Prince Charles meets Jamie Knox while his dad and mum, Colin and Sally Knox, watch on.

FAMILIES of murder victims called on individuals to take responsibility for the violence on our streets, at an emotional memorial service attended by Prince Charles.

FAMILIES of murder victims called on individuals to take responsibility for the violence on our streets, at an emotional memorial service attended by Prince Charles.

The Building A Legacy Of Peace service at Westminster Cathedral on Monday afternoon was organised by the Mizen family to mark the two-year anniversary of the death of Jimmy Mizen.

Jimmy, 16, bled to death the day after his birthday when Jake Fahri, 19, threw a glass tray at him in the Three Cooks bakery in Lee, severing an artery in his neck.

For the service, the Mizens invited other families of victims of gun and knife crime, including the family of the Harry Potter actor Rob Knox, who studied at the D&B Theatre School of Performing Art in Bromley and who was murdered in Sidcup in May 2008 and the parents of Paul Baker, 25, from Chislehurst, who was killed in a fight outside a bar.

Kate McCann, who is still haunted by the disappearance of her daughter Madeleine three years ago, shared a sympathetic hug with Barry and Margaret Mizen on the steps of the cathedral.

During the service, in which schoolchildren read extracts from the Diary Of Anne Frank and the Universal Declaration Of The Rights Of The Child, the younger brother of Rob Knox, Jamie was a candle bearer.

His father Colin, from Greenhithe, said: "It was very emotional. The fact that Jamie was holding a candle for his brother - I found that hard to swallow. The essence of the day is fantastic. I find it sometimes preaches to the converted as people that attend church are of a Christian manner.

"Every member of society has got to take responsibility. Children have not been brought up correctly - it starts with their parents. Parents need to bring up their children to have responsibility when those kinds are on the streets."

The Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, called on politicians to work together, particularly on the issue of violence.

Delivering his homily, he said: "Ever since Friday morning, our minds and our newspapers have been full of talk about how our political parties can best cooperate in order to serve the good of us all. Something has to give - the detailed programmes of policies of each party do not fit together as they stand.

"Cooperation is needed if we are to progress. It is such a delicate moment as we wait to see whether genuinely cooperative politics, rather than the purely adversarial kind, can work."

Also in attendance were the newly-elected MPs for Eltham Labour's Clive Efford and Old Bexley and Sidcup newcomer, Conservative James Brokenshire.

After the service, Prince Charles met all the families involved at the sacristy, where he spoke to them all individually.

Afterwards Mr Mizen said: "It has been very emotional. Today was all about peace.

"We don't want to come to these issues from the angle of screaming and shouting and pointing the finger. Today was a great opportunity - it was a personal decision for Prince Charles to come. He has such a heart for those families who have suffered and he would like to help. We are going to meet with the Princess Trust charity.

"It was beautiful to see so many children standing around."

The father of murdered schoolboy Damilola Taylor, Richard Taylor, from Shooters Hill said: "Even though the service was to remember Jimmy, we found it very emotional to go through it again. It is 10 years since Damilola was stabbed but the pain still lingers. This brings the memories back.

"It is individual and personal responsibility that matters and people should be responsible. We need to make sure that children are adequately guided - keeping them away from the street and drugs and let them be educated about values."

The mother and father of Paul Baker, from Chislehurst, who was killed on May 7, 2007, also attended the service.

The 25-year-old hit his head on the pavement during a fight outside The Lounge bar, in Whitehorse Hill, Chislehurst.

In 2008 three men were found not guilty of manslaughter.

On the steps of the cathedral after the service, his mother Janet Baker said: "We are still looking for justice for our son. When he was small, he used to go into the Mizens' shop in Sidcup. We lived in Sidcup for 18 years.

"The service was very emotional. It brings it all back. We don't feel on our own though. When you are home, you feel as though you are the only one with the dark shadow over you."

Earlier, the Mizens launched a personal safety film for schools, in memory of their son Jimmy.

It is produced by not-for-profit organisation Kids Taskforce and is due to be distributed to all secondary schools in England and Wales.

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