I don’t get upset as that would upset Rob up there in heaven
- 13 Oct 2009
- Daily Mirror Back to Portfolio
I don’t get upset as that would upset Rob up there in heaven
Rob Knox murder, brother Jamie speaks
Countless times in the past 17 months, Jamie Knox has been on the verge of breaking down.
A fleeting glimpse of an old photograph can have him fighting back the tears.
Other times, the grief just creeps up when he least expects it and becomes so overwhelming he wants to punch the wall.
It’s almost a year and a half since his older brother, Harry Potter actor Rob, stepped in to defend him from a knife-wielding thug and was stabbed to death.
Eighteen-year-old Jamie’s pain is still raw, but he never lets himself hurt for long. The thought of Rob, who was also 18 when he died, looking down on his family and seeing their pain while not being able to comfort them is what keeps Jamie strong.
He says: “The way I think about it is when someone dies they go up there,” he points to the sky, “but they can’t talk to you.
“If I went up there and I could see my mum and my dad constantly crying, I’d be standing there thinking, ‘I’m all right, stop it.’ “It would make me upset. So to stop making Rob upset, I don’t get unhappy. He can’t be here. So I try to be as positive as possible.
“You could feel sorry for yourself for the rest of your life and close yourself off to everything.
Or you could think, ‘No, this is going to make me a stronger person.’ It fuels you.”
Indeed it has. Rob’s murder could have crushed Jamie, but he’s emerged a stronger, more determined young man.
He’s all set to follow in his brother’s footsteps with a career in acting and already has roles in The Bill and TV drama Love Lies Bleeding under his belt.
It is all, Jamie says, inspired by his brother’s memory: “I used to want to get up in acting classes but then I thought, ‘Oh no, I might not do it right’. But this has pushed me to think I want to do this, definitely.
“Acting is an ambition I had but mainly I want to do it for Rob. Because he started something that I love doing, I want to finish it. I want to do as best I can for him.”
Jamie’s latest project, a short film called Cold Kiss with a powerful anti-knife message, sees him share the screen with Ray Winstone.
The 15-minute drama should screen at the end of the month and profits go to the Robert Knox Memorial Fund to tackle knife crime.
Jamie, who plays a blade-carrying yob in the film, says: “The message is that a knife on a table is not dangerous. Once you pick it up and carry it, it becomes dangerous.”
Although this was the first time Jamie met Winstone, he and Rob had small parts in his film King Arthur that were cut in the final edit.
Revealing that the movie hardman, who plays the father of a gang member’s girlfriend, took time out of filming to talk to him about Rob, Jamie says: “He’s a really down to earth, normal guy.”
It was Jamie’s father Colin, 55, who came up with the idea for the film and got Rob’s close friend Aaron Truss to produce it.
Colin works tirelessly with his former wife Sally, 51, to campaign against knife and gun violence. He is in talks with distributors for the film but hopes it will be shown on one of the main TV channels so that its message reaches as many people as possible.
It was in May last year that the Knox family’s world was turned upside down.
Karl Bishop, a convicted knife offender, had gone out looking for a fight. After being refused entry to the Metro club in Sidcup, Kent, where Rob was drinking, he threatened Jamie outside. Rob, fiercely protective of his little brother, came out and confronted Bishop. He was stabbed five times.
Three other close friends were wounded as they tried to disarm Bishop – including Dean Saunders, 23, who was stabbed in the neck and suffered permanent spinal damage.
Bishop, 22, was found guilty of murder in March. He was jailed for life and told he would serve a minimum of 20 years.
Describing the moment he was told his brother was dead, Jamie says: “A doctor and two policemen came and said, ‘I’m sorry, he didn’t make it.’ Instantly, this drains every bit of emotion out of you. You just sit in shock. Everyone says it is like something out of a film.
“You shouldn’t be hearing this about someone close to you and who you were talking to an hour ago. All of a sudden you’re never going to see them again. You’re never going to talk to them again. Everyone was just silent for a second and then screaming.”
Only a year-and-a-half apart, the two brothers shared everything growing up – especially their love of acting, attending the same drama classes.
They were over the moon when Rob got his first big break, playing Marcus Belby in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
Jamie sometimes wonders whether if he had behaved differently that night, perhaps it would not have happened.
The “what ifs” are endless. But Jamie tries not to torture himself with them.
He says: “I do think, ‘Why did it have to happen?’ It could so easily have been stopped. It’s not fair, but life isn’t fair. I don’t beat myself up. It happened, that is the way it is. I can’t change it.”
Jamie, who is in the second year of college at the D&B School of Performing Arts in Bromley, says the enormity of what had happened didn’t sink in for weeks.
“There wasn’t an instant moment when it sunk in, it gradually went in day by day. I kept looking at things that reminded me. I went for an audition and I went to ring Rob to tell him and I thought I can’t. When I passed my test and started driving his car that was another point.”
Although Jamie stayed in for a period of time after the murder so as not to worry his mother Sally, he says he is not nervous about going out. “I think if you are going to be like that you’re going to live your life in a shell.”
But he is careful to stay away from any signs of confrontation and lets Sally know where he is going, calling her if he is out late. “I forget a bit and she gets annoyed but I know where she is coming from, as a mum.”
The Knox family all believe sentencing for knife crimes should be tougher. “Twenty years is not long enough,” Jamie says.
“If someone takes someone else’s life they don’t deserve to come out.
“They have done something that can’t be changed, reversed, replaced. Why should they come out?
“If there were longer sentences for carrying knives people would think twice.” Jamie doesn’t waste time thinking of Bishop. Instead, he thinks of his brother and all the happy memories they shared.
When he talks about Rob, it is with huge warmth. He says: “We talked about anything and everything. We would never keep anything from each other. There were no secrets. Wherever we went we had a laugh and just bounced off each other. We knew exactly what the other was thinking, without saying anything, our minds worked the same way. We shared the same group of friends, that is why we were always together. His mates became my mates, and mine his, that’s how it was.
“We couldn’t ever hold a grudge with each other. It would be for about 15 minutes and then he would say something and I would have to laugh.”
Rob’s family take great comfort in the fact that he was able to enjoy his final six months by getting the coveted Harry Potter role.
“He loved it,” says Jamie with a smile.
“He’d come back from the set and talk about what happened. I like the fact that he lived the last six months of his life loving every moment of it. He was always out clubbing and enjoying himself.
“Everything I think of and do relates back to him in some way. But I don’t get sad any more. I am happy all the time. When I think about Rob, I smile.”
A charity evening in Rob’s memory, sponsored by the Mirror’s Stop Knives Save Lives campaign, takes place at The Valley, Charlton, on Thursday. If you would like to make a donation to the Robert Knox Memorial Fund, visit www.robknox.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Margaret Mizen, 55, the mother of murdered teen Jimmy, has been named Catholic Woman of the Year for her campaigning to end street violence. The devout Catholic said: “I’m very proud and a bit shocked.” Jake Fahri, 19, was jailed for life in March for killing Jimmy, 16, during a row near his home in Lee, South East London, last year.