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Stars blast government record on knife crime

PUBLISHED: 14:40 28 January 2010 | UPDATED: 17:33 25 August 2010

FILM PREMIERE GUESTS: Jamie Knox, Sir Ben Kingsley, Sally Knox, Ray Winstone, and Colin Knox.  Picture by ANDY BARNES

FILM PREMIERE GUESTS: Jamie Knox, Sir Ben Kingsley, Sally Knox, Ray Winstone, and Colin Knox. Picture by ANDY BARNES

GANGSTER film stars Ray Winstone and Sir Ben Kingsley blasted the government at the launch of an anti-knife crime film. The duo who starred in Sexy Beast attended the launch of Cold Kiss, made in memory of murdered Harry Potter actor Rob Knox, at the Pr

GANGSTER film stars Ray Winstone and Sir Ben Kingsley blasted the government at the launch of an anti-knife crime film.

The duo who starred in Sexy Beast attended the launch of Cold Kiss, made in memory of murdered Harry Potter actor Rob Knox, at the Princess Anne Theatre - home of the BAFTAs.

Your campaigning Times was invited to the premiere after exclusively revealing Ray Winstone was to star in the short film alongside the murdered teen's brother, Jamie.

Rob Knox, who played Marcus Belby in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, was knifed to death outside the Metro Bar, Sidcup, in May 2008.

Two weeks later the 18-year-old, from London Road, Swanley, was awarded a posthumous award for bravery for helping police catch two violent offenders at Bluewater shopping centre where he worked part-time.

Since his death Rob's father Colin Knox, of Ingress Park, Greenhithe, has led a campaign to educate the nation about knife crime and get a mandatory six month sentence passed for knife carriers.

Tough talking Ray Winstone said: "I hope this film opens people's eyes and minds and makes people aware, but it's not just people it's the government that need to be made aware.

"With three children, I am worried that there are people out there prepared to carry a gun, murder people and stab them and we need to educate people not to carry these.

"I mention the government because the government are here to work on behalf of the people. I don't know what we pay our taxes for when they don't seem to listen. I want this to make them listen and that is a big reason why I got involved. Enough is enough. It is about time something was done about it.

"When I was a kid you got in a scrap and that was it. Now people pull knifes, use guns and young men like Rob die. He was a talented actor who should be starting a great film career but he is dead."

The 52-year-old, who lives with his wife Elaine, added: "Every day on the news, you turn it on and someone's been stabbed or shot. I guess it's because I have kids and I fear for my kids when they go out and I fear for my wife when she goes shopping."

Also at the launch night were Sir Ben Kingsley CBE and Red Dwarf actor Danny John-Jules, who starred with Ray in Scum.

Sir Ben said: "I'm here today to send a message to the government that we can no longer ignore the murders on our streets.

"As actors we have been accustomed to the science of violence. But there is a very serious side to what we do when we act as we have to examine the personality of the troubled mind.

"Now the government must understand that they can no longer ignore this because the reality is this is part of society.

Speaking after the screening he added: "This is, undoubtedly, a deeply moving film. I sincerely hope it gets picked up by mainstream TV so it can be seen by millions.

"And you know the most important thing this film does? It does not provide any answers because we have to. That's so admirable."

Ray Winstone, whose new movie 44 Inch Chest was released last week, has never kept a secret his fear for his family's safety on the streets.

He added: "I've not always been a great believer in the whole 'three strikes and you're out' but I am now.

"And maybe that's for selfish reasons and whatever - but if you're caught with a knife you get nicked, the second time you get five years, the last time you get life and there's no ifs or buts with that."

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: "We are determined to do everything in our power to tackle the menace of knife crime and prevent the deaths of young people on our streets.

"That is why tougher penalties have been introduced for those caught in possession of a knife, with the starting point for an adult now three months in jail.

"We have also made it clear that anyone aged 16 or over should be prosecuted at their first offence and we have doubled the maximum sentence for being caught with a knife to four years imprisonment.

"Sentencing in individual cases is, and must remain, a matter for the courts, but statistics show that tougher penalties are being imposed."

michael.adkins@archant.co.uk

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