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Last Updated: Friday, 23 June 2006, 11:08 GMT 12:08 UK
Age ban 'should go beyond knives'
The sale of knives to under 18s is being banned
A forthcoming ban on under 18s buying knives should be extended to other deadly weapons, the chairman of the Policing Board has said.

It follows a campaign by the family of a 24-year-old Belfast man, beaten to death with a medieval-type spiked ball and chain in west Belfast in 2002.

Sir Desmond Rea said access to these weapons should also be restricted.

"We would be asking does that offer the opportunity to expand the remit of the law to cover these weapons," he said.

Thomas Johnston was attacked with such a weapon in front of a girlfriend just yards from his home in Belfast's Shankill area.

The murder remains unsolved.

His brother William said the injuries Thomas sustained were horrific.

"The metal shaped ball with the spikes in it actually made a cone indented shape in his brain," he said.

An inquest into his death on Thursday heard that the weapons were easily obtainable in Belfast and in 5,000 other locations across the UK.

Police said on Thursday that a knife amnesty in Northern Ireland had resulted in 886 knives being handed in.

As part of the campaign to cut down knife crime the minimum age limit to buy a knife will rise to 18.

NI knife amnesty nets 886 blades
22 Jun 06 |  Northern Ireland

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