A leading fashion store in the UK has been denounced for putting up a mannequin that wielded a six-inch knife and a cleaver. The mannequin has since been pulled off.
Anti-knife campaigners are aghast that the store, Sefton Menswear on Upper Street. Islington, in the heart of London, should have chosen to do up a mannequin with a knife, and thus at a time when everyone is agonizing over the increasing youth violence. And the store is situated hardly a mile from the spot where 16-year-old Ben Kinsella was fatally stabbed four months ago.
AdvertisementIn effect the Sefton were glamourising knife culture, critics charged.
Kinsella's sister, the former EastEnders actress Brooke Kinsella, 24, described the retailer as "insensitive".
She said: "It is extremely irresponsible to glamorise carrying knives in this way. So many young people are losing their lives through knife crime, which is such a serious problem at the moment."
Rose Dixon of campaign group Support After Murder and Manslaughter said: "This is wholly inappropriate. It is glamorising having a weapon and carrying a knife.
"People who have been bereaved by knife crime find it disturbing to come across someone with a knife, even in innocent situations. It can simply freak them out. Knife crime is not a marketing tool."
As The Sunday Telegraph began to take photographs of the shopfront last week, staff swiftly removed the window display. It had been already been up for several days.
The shop manager referred enquiries to owner Ben Elsdale, who did not return calls to his office.
Kinsella was stabbed to death in York Way, Islington, in June after a night out with friends to celebrate the end of their GCSE exams. Three youths accused of the killing are due to face trial at the Old Bailey in April. Juress Kika, 18, Michael Alleyne, 18, and Jade Braithwaite, 19, all from London, have pleaded not guilty to murder.
Kinsella's sister, mother Deborah and father George were among 2,000 who took part in a "People's March" to London's Hyde Park last month, in a show of defiance against stabbings and shootings.
The borough of Islington has seen more than 700 knife crimes since April last year, including 44 during September. In June last year, 14-year-old Martin Dinnegan was stabbed to death in the borough after exchanging "dirty looks" in the street with Joseph Chin, who was under supervision for earlier violent offences. Chin is now serving life for the murder.
In August, The Sunday Telegraph revealed that more than 35,000 children were attacked or threatened with a weapon last year in England and Wales.