July 3, 2008 / 9:13 AM / in 10 years

Ben Kinsella's family launch website

LONDON (Reuters) - The family of Ben Kinsella, the 16-year-old stabbed to death in north London last weekend, launched a website and fund in his memory on Thursday to try to end the scourge of knife crime.

Ben Kinsella in an undated photo. REUTERS/Metropolitan Police/Handout

The family said they wanted to raise awareness of teenage weapon crime and bring an end to the problems it caused.

Kinsella was the 17th teenager to die violently in the capital this year. He was stabbed to death after being chased down a street following a fight he was not involved in at the Shillibeers pub and nightclub in the early hours of Sunday.

“Now it truly is the time to stand up and put an end to this,” his sister former “Eastenders” actress Brooke Kinsella says on the website.

“My family are determined to fight in his memory to make the streets safer for our children. Please boys and girls, put down your knives and weapons and think about the pain and suffering they will cause.”

On Wednesday she made a tearful appeal for witnesses to come forward, begging those who might have information to speak to detectives.

“I have been told that Ben’s murder will be really, really difficult to solve unless those witnesses come forward and help,” she told a news conference.

Three teenagers, two aged 18 and a 19-year-old, are currently in police custody in connection with the murder. A fourth, aged 18, has been released on police bail.

Brooke Kinsella said she understood some people might be scared to come forward but police had promised witnesses would be protected.

Detective Chief Inspector John Macdonald also called on parents whose children were in the pub on the night to “dig a bit harder” and find out what they knew.

“There’s no doubt in my mind some of those kids will have said to their parents, I was there but I didn’t see anything. Quite frankly I don’t necessarily believe all of that,” he said.

Macdonald said there had been a “minor” disturbance in the pub earlier in the night, but that Kinsella had not been involved in any fight. Nor was the attack gang-related, he said.

On Tuesday, hundreds of people took part in a protest against the rising tide of teenage violence led by the Kinsella family and friends, marching through north London to the spot where he was stabbed.

On Wednesday, London police said they had arrested more than 1,200 people and seized 528 knives during a six-week crackdown sparked by the growing number of teenage stabbings.

Figures also showed that hospital admissions for people suffering from stab wounds had soared between 2002/3 and 2006/7, with an 88 percent increase in incidents involving under-16s, and a 75 percent rise in the 16 to 18-year-old age bracket.

(For full coverage of knife crime in Britain click here)

Editing by Steve Addison

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