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FAMILIES UNITED

PUBLISHED: 17:52 21 October 2009 | UPDATED: 11:09 23 August 2010

THE parents of some of the most high-profile victims of knife crime joined your campaigning Reporter at a special event to promote awareness about the evils of youth violence. Hosted at Charlton Football Club, the Rob Knox Charity Dinner raised about £25

THE parents of some of the most high-profile victims of knife crime joined your campaigning Reporter at a special event to promote awareness about the evils of youth violence.

Hosted at Charlton Football Club, the Rob Knox Charity Dinner raised about £25,000 and was held in memory of the murdered actor Robert Knox.

The 18-year-old who played Marcus Belby in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was stabbed to death outside the Metro Bar, Sidcup, last year.

Colin and Sally Knox, the parents of the Bromley-based D&B School of Performing Arts student, were joined by others affected by horrific murders.

Barry and Margaret Mizen, whose son Jimmy, 16, died after his neck was slashed at a bakery in South London in May last year, attended.

They were joined by Richard Taylor. His 10-year-old son Damilola died after being stabbed with a broken bottle in Peckham in 2001.

Kentish Times Newspapers was invited to the event held at the club's ground and in conjunction with their Street Violence Ruins Lives campaign.

We were given access due to our close links with these families whose lives have been destroyed by knife crime and others including Cliff Tiltman, from Greenhithe, whose daughter Claire, then 16, was repeatedly stabbed to death in January 1993. Her killer has never been caught.

Colin Knox, 55, of Ingress Park, Greenhithe, said: "The support we have received has been amazing. Through Rob's link with Harry Potter we are being listened to.

"We need to make changes. Our children are dying on the street.

"The support from everyone, including Kentish Times Newspapers, is desperately important. This event is not just about raising money for the Rob Knox Memorial Fund. It is about pushing for a six month mandatory sentence for knife carriers and is just one in a number of campaigns around the country."

He added: "We are joined by other families who have lost loved ones and together have also formed Families United. It is a group where those who have also been murdered on Britain's streets can seek comfort and support. It is a hub, a coffee shop, where you can put your arm around someone, give them a lift and support. If there are others out there like Cliff Tiltman they can get in touch if they want to. We are all trying to end the violence and blood on our streets."

Cliff Tiltman, 61, of Greenhithe, supported calls for tougher sentencing for knife carriers. He said: "They should be locked up without question. If you are going to take a knife out on the streets we have to be asking why. It is clearly with intention of hurting someone, even killing them. It is ridiculous that this country is not tougher on this.

"Families like myself and the Knox family have to live with this pain forever. It destroys lives, it ruins families, yet knife carriers know they are likely to get a slap on the wrists if caught. Is that what our children's lives are worth?"

Following a meeting with Prime Minister Gordon Brown earlier this year Mr Knox hopes to meet Conservative leader David Cameron to discuss the possibility of tougher sentences.

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