Page last updated at 19:07 GMT, Monday, 20 July 2009 20:07 UK

Parents make knife sentence plea

(L to r) Sally Knox, Colin Knox, Margaret Mizen, Richard Taylor, Barry Mizen and Grace Idowu
The families called for tougher sentences for knife crime

The parents of a murdered 18-year-old actor have called for a mandatory six month minimum custodial sentence for any person caught carrying a knife.

Colin and Sally Knox appealed for the change in law during a meeting with Prime Minister Gordon Brown and families of other knife crime victims.

Rob Knox, who appeared in the latest Harry Potter film, was fatally stabbed outside a London bar in May, 2008.

The parents of Jimmy Mizen and Damilola Taylor's father were also present.

Carrying knives is abhorrent - they're used as weapons to kill innocent people
Colin Knox

Families United, an umbrella support organisation for victims' families, met with Mr Brown and Home Secretary Alan Johnson.

Mr Knox said: "We're actually calling for a mandatory six month minimum custodial sentence for those people caught and found guilty of carrying knives.

"Carrying knives is abhorrent and people shouldn't carry knives in this country. They're used as weapons to kill innocent people."

Sally Knox said: "If you carry a knife you will use it. A lot of people who have died have never carried a knife in their life."

Sentencing guidelines

She added: "We don't believe that having to do community service is enough deterrent. These people that are carrying knives need to be removed from the streets."

A Number 10 spokesman said Mr Brown supported the Families United initiative.

Robert Knox (right) with his mother Sally and younger brother Jamie, 17
Rob Knox (right) had a small part in the latest Harry Potter film

"The government is determined to do all it can to tackle youth and knife crime. Each death is one too many," he added.

In August 2008 the Sentencing Guidelines Council told magistrates that sentences should be much tougher and it said first-time offenders could now face about 12 weeks in prison.

But these guidelines apply to adult offenders.

Before the changes, the starting point when sentencing for possessing a knife in a public place was a community sentence or a £500 fine for simple knife possession.

These still remain available to magistrates but they are far less likely to be used following the new advice.

Mark Prince and Tracy Cumberbatch, the parents of Kiyan, 15, who was killed outside his school in May 2006, and Gee and Dominique Walker, the mother and sister of Anthony Walker, 18, who was killed in a racist attack in Merseyside in July 2005, were also among those who met Mr Brown and Mr Johnson.



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