"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Friday, 6 March 2009

The Case of Karl Bishop: Cold Blooded Murder

Today, 22 year old Karl Bishop (pictured) was sentenced for the murder of 18 year old Robert Knox, an actor in the upcoming Harry Potter film, and the malicious wounding of four of his friends.

He received 4 consecutive life terms for the killing and 3 of the wounding charges, and a 2 year term for the fourth wounding charge.

How long, then, did the judge order that Bishop would spend in prison before being eligible for release?

20 years.

The details of this case are truly chilling, but not only that - they are a lesson in what happens when the justice system is simply too soft and forgiving.

Described as a young man prone to violent outbursts since childhood, abandoned by his father at an early age, Bishop even managed to get himself expelled from primary school.

He was first arrested for pulling a knife on another boy during an argument at 16. By this time, he was already a heavy cannabis user.

Just 11 months before he stabbed Rob Knox to death, he was released from a 4 year prison term for slashing two men in the face during an argument after serving just 2 years.

That's bad enough in itself, but it gets worse. A mere two months before he killed Knox, Bishop pulled a blade on a young man whilst attempting to rob him.

He was named as the suspect and actually added to a police wanted list - but the detectives assigned to the case never bothered visiting his home or otherwise attempting to track him down. They have since been issued a written warning for neglect of duty.

Bishop was still wanted when an argument outside the Metro bar in Sidcup, Kent turned deadly in late 2007. Bishop accused Knox's group of stealing his phone, which it later emerged had been taken by someone else.

A fight broke out and police intervened. As he walked away, Bishop said: "I'm coming back next week and someone's going to die."

True to his word, he returned the next week with two kitchen knives after being seen off by Knox's friends earlier in the evening. He then embarked on what witnesses described as a 'frenzy', stabbing Knox, who was protecting his 17 year old brother, 5 times. He stabbed another 17 year old in the chest, a third man in the neck causing permanent spinal damage, another in the hand, and a fifth in the face.

As he was led away by police, Bishop was seen smiling and winking at Knox's remaining friends and younger brother; when told in his police interview that Knox had died and he would be charged, his response was:

"Yeah, sweet."

His lack of remorse continued in the dock, where he was seen winking and smiling at friends, and on one occasion shouted:

"Take me to ******* Belmarsh. I'm going down anyway, just take me there now. I don't mind. I get gym every day, meals – just take me there."

As he was sentenced, Bishop stood with his hands in his pockets and smirked at Robert Knox's family.

The judge, Mr Justice Bean, described his lack of regret and remorse as 'truly chilling' and said he was 'a very significant danger to the public'. The judge himself admitted that Bishop didn't necessarily intend to kill Knox, he just didn't care if he did or not.

Thanks for that, your honour. He'll still be back on the streets at 42. Just what do you have to do for a life sentence to actually mean just that?

This sentence does not send out the right message, in my opinion. There is currently much hand-wringing over knife crime, but the truth is there are thousands of Karl Bishops out there, people who aren't scared of the consequences - because there aren't any.

6 comments:

LibertyMine said...

I'm afraid I fall into the "draconian" belief on crime.

I had written a great big comment but it was too big so I've stuck it on my blog instead.

Basically it says hang the b*****ds, or words to that effect.

Our penal system doesn't work. We send too many people to prison but crucially not for long enough.

Our European "cousins" send fewer to prison but the sentences are longer.

We need to go down a similar route - sending less minor offenders to prison but making sure the sentences matter.

While I want criminals to be reformed and rehabilitated so that when they do reenter society they are able to function as a part of it, I first want them to serve suitable punishment.

I see people almost every day through my work who have been in prison, and many who have just come out. The kids don't give a f***. They have no shame. It is no penalty to them. The seniors regularly comment how it is nowhere near as bad as it used to be.

Prisoners who do not behave simply do not get out.

Dr.D said...

Four consecutive life sentences comes down to only twenty years? What is it going to take to get the British and the other Europeans to return to the highly effective and irreversible death penalty?

There is no reason for the public to support this jerk for twenty years so that he has a relatively easy life (three meals a day, gym, etc.) while he plans his future murders. Far better that he pay the debt he truly owes to society. He has taken a life, several it seems, and for that he owes his own. Now do it and dispatch him with no more quibbling about it! (I am from Texas by the way.)

LibertyMine said...

I could live with that.

I hate the concurrent sentences as well. Why aren't they consecutive?

The Venerable 1st Earl of Cromer said...

I have a friend who's just become a barrister with the CPS, and you'd be surprised - they actually do a whole module on how the death penalty is totally ineffective, all the miscarriages of justice, etc.

It's disgusting really - that's a political issue, you can't just not do things on the basis that you might make a mistake.

In cut and dried cases like this, I fully agree with it. He's going to spend 20 years pumping iron at our expense, then be out at 42. It's insane.

I think far too many people take it for granted that the system will go easy. It went easy on this man once, and he killed someone. What's next?

Dr. D:
The fact it only came to 20 years annoyed me too. It's ridiculous - what do you actually have to do to prove you're a danger?

Goatlips said...

Vile Caramac cunt. In a just world these psychopaths would be handed over to the victims' family and friends, who would, hopefully, torture them until they starved to death.
The fact that he had scum mates watching on in court too disgusts me. They clearly need putting on probation just by association, as they must be deranged for offering him support!
...Our 'justice' system is an absolute outrage, often allowing psychos to commit literally HUNDREDS of crimes before they do something like this...Mind you, that Anders Breivik queer got 21 years!? Norway obviously trying to out-do us. Bizarre/disgraceful.

Mike Z said...

Somewhere out there, roaming free, is a totally innocent man or women who will die at this man's hand when he is released. This judge is an incompetent fool...