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HARRY POTTER actor murder trial

PUBLISHED: 10:14 12 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:27 23 August 2010

KILLED: Rob Knox

KILLED: Rob Knox

THE heartbroken family of have-a-go hero Robert Knox, a Harry Potter actor given a posthumous award for bravery at Bluewater shopping centre, faced the man accused of his murder at the Old Bailey this week.

THE heartbroken family of have-a-go hero Robert Knox, a Harry Potter actor given a posthumous award for bravery at Bluewater shopping centre, faced the man accused of his murder at the Old Bailey this week.

Robert Knox,18, was allegedly murdered by unemployed Karl Bishop, 21, of Carlton Road, Sidcup, in a knife attack outside the Metro Bar in Sidcup last May.

Just weeks after his death the Reporter revealed his parents Colin and Sally Knox were to collect a North Kent Police award for an act of bravery after an assault on someone at Marks and Spencer in Bluewater were he worked.

The actor, who plays wizard Marcus Belby in the forthcoming movie Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, helped police chase and catch two suspects. Both men were later jailed for GBH.

Speaking at Ebbsfleet Police Station, Mr Knox said: "That was Rob - he thought about other people first and not himself."

His mother added: "I just wish I could tell him how proud we are."

The death of Mr Knox of Maidstone Road, Swanley, sparked a massive outpouring of grief in the community as fears of spiraling knife crime rocked the country.

Mr Knox, a drama school student, was the 14th teenager killed in the capital in 2008, a year blighted by a total of 28 violent deaths of young men in London. There were 277 fatal stabbings in England and Wales, the number reaching its highest point for the past 30 years - the equivalent of five every week.

His death was the second to hit the community in just two weeks after the death of 'gentle giant' Jimmy Mizen, son of Sidcup businessman Barry, on May 11, days after his 16th birthday.

Although unrelated, the death of two popular young men rocked the community and, as reported in the Kentish Times/Reporter teenagers held nightly vigils outside the bar and Somerfield store near Sidcup station.

Flowers, banners and graffiti messages from grief-stricken teens were placed there in tribute to Mr Knox. He was described as "faultless", "decent and "respectful".

More than 200 frightened residents turned out to a last-minute police street meeting demanding an end to the violence. One resident told the Reporter: "I am scared and disgusted. Two stabbings in Sidcup...is too much."

Mourning for the former Beths Grammar School pupil culminated in his funeral on June 25 at St John the Evandelist Church in Sidcup, attended by schoolmates and fellow actors including Rupert Grint who stars as Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films.

The funeral came just days before Mr Knox, who also appeared on The Bill, was given a posthumous award for bravery by North Kent Police.

In July, students at D&B School of Performing Arts in Bromley dedicated a special performance for their fellow student and friend at Catford's Broadway Theatre.

But it was in the months leading up to the trial that the grief-stricken families of Rob Knox and Jimmy Mizen came together to create a positive change in the community.

Rob Knox's uncle, Kevin May, 48, a legal representative from Sidcup, decided to launch Make a Difference in the wake of his nephew's killing, a campaign which aims to build community spirit, improve relations within families and build bridges between young and old.

He was invited to attend the launch of Mayor Boris Johnson's Strategic Framework for Preventing Youth Violence last November and has "big plans" for the year ahead including the launch of a community theatre scheme and 'making a difference' to a housing estate in Woolwich.

Mr May was also involved in the people's march and memorial rugby match staged between the Knox and Mizen families in September.

He said: "We believe very strongly that this is a long-term problem. We've done the march and the rugby match but we need to continue on.

"It's really important that we give opportunities to all sorts of people. And it doesn't always have to be about sport. With something like community theatre it's not just about the actors. It's about the guy who's building the stage as well, it involves everyone.

"A lot of people think something terrible like what's happened to our families isn't going to happen to them. But they shouldn't kid themselves. You can't just turn your back on this. We have to be aware as people from Sidcup, Kent and the nation as a whole that this can happen. And when it does, trust me, it's not nice."

For more information on Mr May's campaign visit www.youcanmakeadifference.org.uk.

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