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Kids think it's the norm to carry a knife'

PUBLISHED: 18:03 28 May 2008 | UPDATED: 09:47 23 August 2010

Dartford
27-05-08
Cliff Tiltman with picture of his daughter Claire Tiltman and his wife Linda

Dartford 27-05-08 Cliff Tiltman with picture of his daughter Claire Tiltman and his wife Linda

THE father of a brutally murdered girl says teenagers will carry on killing each other on the streets until knife crime is ERADICATED. Cliff Tiltman, 59, of Woodward Terrace, Greenhithe, is calling for tougher sentencing - even capital punishment - afte

THE father of a brutally murdered girl says teenagers will carry on killing each other on the streets until knife crime is ERADICATED.

Cliff Tiltman, 59, of Woodward Terrace, Greenhithe, is calling for tougher sentencing - even capital punishment - after the fatal stabbing of 18-year-old film actor Rob Knox outside The Metro bar in Sidcup on Saturday.

Mr Tiltman's daughter Claire, 16, was knifed more than 40 times in a Greenhithe alleyway in 1993 but her killer has never been caught.

After seeing the shock and devastation written on the faces of Rob Knox's family he warned it is a horror that could happen to any family at any time.

Mr Tiltman said: "The value put on human life doesn't seem to matter anymore. Sentencing in this country is a joke, you get more for a motoring offence than you do for walking round the streets carrying a knife, it's just not good enough.

"It's got to the stage where there is some form of knife crime happening on a daily basis. Kids think it's the norm to carry a knife, they see their friends carrying one and they do the same.

"But at the moment they are allowed to get away with it, there is no deterrent. I want to see a mandatory jail term for possession.

"Where there is irrefutable evidence that someone has killed with a knife, the punishment has to be hanging.

"Until the government takes this seriously we will see more teenagers being hacked to death on our streets. It can happen to any family in any place, like it happened to us."

He said the tragedy goes beyond death, that the victims' families and loved ones feel the pain for a lifetime.

Mr Tiltman's beloved wife, Lin, died in March this year after a long battle against cancer.

He said: "I believe if Claire was still here, I'm convinced my wife would be too. Claire's grandparents also died an early death, they simply couldn't handle the grief of losing their lovely granddaughter in such horrific circumstances. He was a healthy, proud man but ended up broken, torn up inside.

"It's very sad for the family of Rob Knox, the pain might diminish in time but it will never go away. My thoughts as with all the other victims' are with the relatives they leave behind."

A Home Office Spokesperson said: "The Government is determined to stamp out knife crime, any incident is one too many. We are taking tough action against those who carry knives, as well as educating young people about the risks they face.

"We have doubled the maximum sentence for carrying a knife to four years and on May 29 we will launch a new national £1 million campaign to challenge the fear, glamour and peer pressure that can drive youngsters to knife crime."

The campaign will feature on national radio, websites, posters and mobile phones, alongside adverts in women's weekly magazines encouraging mothers to talk about knives with their children.

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