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Dad of girl, 17, stabbed to death begs for knife sale ban to keep kids safe

Jul 20, 2019

The heartbroken father of scout Jodie Chesney, a 17-year-old victim of knife crime has demanded action after a Sunday People investigation found deadly blades which can be sold to underage Brits via Instagram .

Firms in the US appear to be cashing in on the UK”s rise in fatal stabbings by using hashtags like #knifecrime and #survival to plug zombie knives and daggers on the app.

We were able to arrange shipment of an assortment of weapons to the UK for as little as £10 – simply by ticking a box to confirm being “over 18”.

Grieving Peter Chesney, 39, – whose daughter Jodie was fatally stabbed four months ago in a park near her home in Essex – vowed to rally against sales of knives to children.

The dad told the Sunday People he is launching a charity in memory of girl scout Jodie, and said: “It shouldn’t be that easy to buy knives. It pains me.

"Innocent children are getting killed and something needs to be done – whether it’s education or going hard on mandatory minimum sentences.

“I miss my daughter dearly – [she only died] four months ago. Hopefully we can gain some traction and help with the problem.”

Our probe found accounts using sick #knifecrime hashtags just days after a 17-year-old boy was jailed for the murder of a schoolboy, 16, using a blade he bought through Instagram.

Louai Ali sourced a 10-inch zombie knife through Instagram and used it to murder a 16-yearold ‘role model’ student.

Ali was just 16 when he stabbed Sidali Mohamed in the chest outside the gates of Joseph Chamberlain College in Birmingham on February 13.

Student Sidali collapsed at the scene and stopped breathing, and died in hospital two days later.

Last month, Ali was convicted of murder, wounding with intent and unlawful wounding at Birmingham Crown Court

Sentencing Ali to a minimum 19 years in jail on Monday, Judge Mark Wall QC  – who lifted reporting restrictions to identify the teen – told him: “You deliberately went to his college armed with a fearsome knife with intent of stabbing him.

“It had a long blade which was split in two. It was a weapon which was obviously, potentially lethal. You bought it because in your words ‘It looked cool’.”

And figures this week found that incidents of knife crime have increased by 8% in the last year – while prosecution levels over the same period have dropped.

The Sunday People uncovered a string of company profiles from the USA 0 where knife laws differ from state to state. There is no suggestion these firms are breaking US knife laws.

Many posted pictures of blades for sale through hashtags which appear to glamorise their use, like #knifecrime, #knifeporn and #knifeaddiction.

The profiles direct followers to websites which boast a terrifying stocklist of weapons.

One firm, called Cutlery Wholesaler, posted images of a huge blade called 'Zombie Killer' with hashtags including #survival and a dagger with hashtag #knifecrime and #cool as recently as this month.

The website hosts a range of “Zombie Killer” weapons that are illegal in the UK including a 24-inch machete and daggers.

The account, which has 15,000 followers – links to a website where machetes, throwing knives and “hidden blade” weapons can be bought for as little as £5.

Orders over $300 – around £240 – can be shipped to the UK and payments made via bank wire transfer, a sales rep told us.

It is illegal in England and Wales to sell a knife to anyone under 18 unless it has a folding blade of 3 inches or less.

Zombie knives, push daggers and lock knives appear on a long list of weapons that are illegal to import to the UK.

It is illegal in England and Wales to sell a knife to anyone under 18 unless it has a folding blade of 3 inches or less.

Another account, ‘Knivesdeal’ plugged a knife which possibly meets UK regulations that allow three-inch folding blades.

But the post then directs the 3,000 followers of the account to its website where weapons including zombie knives and steel throwing poker cards are available.

They will ship to the UK for as little as £10.

A female-targeted account called Babes for Blades claims it’s for ‘Bad Babes Only’ and glamourises a so-called garter blade knife with the tag #knivesarecool.

A post last month shows a woman wearing the £38 product with the caption: “Our garter blade knife is perfect for those long city walks when someone tells you to ‘smile more’.”

On each of the Instagram accounts and subsequent website we identified, the only age check we found was a tick box confirming: “I am 18 years old or older”.

The knives can be purchased with debit cards – children in the UK can get a debit card from the age of 11 at some banks – with other banks stipulating you have to be 16.

The dealers put the onus on the customer to check and abide by UK laws before arranging shipment here.

They warned: “Continue with this product purchase only if this knife is legal in your country.

"Some countries do not allow switchblades or blades over a certain length.

"You can search your laws online or by calling your local law enforcement.”

Victim’s dad Peter Chesney is now launching a charity, The Jodie Chesney Foundation, which will partly aim to tackle online knife sales to children.

Mr Chesney, who is fundraising to help his initiative, said: “The life that’s been taken away from us meant so much that if we can save one life it’s all worth it.”

Patrick Green, chief executive of The Ben Kinsella Trust set up after 16-year-old Ben – half-brother of EastEnders actress Brooke Kinsella, – was stabbed to death in 2008, was also appalled by our revelations.

Mr Geen said: “The Instagram pages act as a forum where young people openly encourage each other to break the law by buying flick knives and concealed knives which are illegal for any age group.

"These sites should be blocked immediately.”

An Instagram spokesperson said: “We recently changed our policies to restrict all sales of knives on Instagram to people aged 18 and above.

“We work closely with the police to improve our detection and removal of illegal material.”

To support The Jodie Chesney Foundation, click here

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