Knife crime case: police guarantee Ben Kinsella murder witnesses will be safe

July 3rd, 2008 - 4:32 pm ICT by Bupha Ravirot  

Knife crime case: police guarantee Ben Kinsella murder witnesses will be safe

Police is going ahead investigating the murder of Ben Kinsella on Sunday night. Appealed for witnesses yesterday and police offered guarantees of anonymity to any one afraid to testify.

John Macdonald, Detective Chief Inspector, who is heading the inquiry into the stabbing of Ben Kinsella, a 16-year-old school boy outside a north London nightclub, Shillibeers at 2 a.m on Sunday assure to anyone who worried by a recent House of Lords ruling on the use of anonymous testimony in trials.

“There is no issue with protecting witnesses. The House of Lords decision doesn’t hinder the investigation. With the support of the police and parents you can make a stand. The idea that you have your name taken and your photo appears in the paper is nonsense. Come forward, then it’s up to the police to persuade you [to testify]. If we don’t persuade you, we don’t persuade you.” said John Macdonald.

He further said police believed they had identified the most important person who involved in the murder case but wanted a picture of the events.

In Shillibeers [nightclub] there were maybe 100-150 people. We’ve spoken to people who haven’t necessarily given us full accounts. The number of people around doesn’t tally with the amount of people who were there,” said Macdonald.

He assumed there were around 15-20 witnesses in the area who might have seen the situation and saw the suspects. “All these people are important,” he said.

“The most important thing over the next two days is to find witnesses. It’s not just because of fear that people don’t want to come forward. Some assume others will come forward, or they hear people have been arrested and think the police will sort it out. But make yourself known. We just want people to come forward. Let us decide what information is important.”

Ben’s sister the former EastEnders actor Brooke Kinsella, said she was grateful to those who had given police significant information, but urged more witnesses to come forward: “I wouldn’t ask anyone to put their child in danger, but we’ve been assured by the police. Let’s get these people off the streets. They could do it again,” she said.

The forensic science teams were still looking at CCTV footage, which was a key area of the investigation. He could not confirm whether two knives found near the nightclub were linked to the stabbing.

Recently the 3 suspects were caught and held at different police stations in London. Another one has been bailed to come back later. Two 16-year-olds who were held from the beginning and released were friends of the murdered boy and would face no further action, Macdonald said.

Regarding Cherie Blair’s comments to the Commons home affairs select committee on Tuesday that official figures underestimated the problem of knife crime among young people, Macdonald said the number of violent crimes was falling. “Younger children are using knives and getting stabbed,” he said. “But violent crimes, murder, are all down.”

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