There had been five Harry Potter films already by the time Rob Knox joined the cast as Marcus Belby for Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince. An outgoing 18-year-old, he quickly made friends among the regulars, including Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy and who recalls hours spent together in the car park at Leavesden Studios.
‘Rob was quite the joker, quite cheeky,’ says Tom. ‘We’d make some cricket game up outside or try to steal Robbie Coltrane’s phone and change the language to Turkish – just be mischievous. I remember it being just as much fun on set as it was off set with Rob.’
Four days after he finished filming, on 24 May 2008, Rob went out to celebrate at his local pub in Sidcup, Kent. His younger brother Jamie called to him from outside, sounding frantic, saying there was a man on the street with two kitchen knives.
Seeing the man threatening Jamie and his friends, Rob tried to intervene.
He was stabbed five times by a psychopathic thug named Karl Bishop, who had only recently been released from prison after another stabbing. Rob was taken to hospital but pronounced dead. Bishop was jailed for a minimum 20 years for his murder.
Rob Knox, who starred as Marcus Belby in Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince, was stabbed to death in 2008. His father Colin has now revealed his horror at the killing (pictured together)
An outgoing 18-year-old, Rob quickly made friends among the regular cast members of the Harry Potter films, including the star Daniel Radcliffe (pictured, together)
It’s been 15 years since Rob died, but tears still roll down his father Colin’s cheek as he recalls the shock of the call that told him his adored older son had been attacked.
‘All I knew was that he’d been stabbed. I thought it was in the arm or something like that,’ says Colin. ‘When I got to the hospital I was sent to the family room and a nurse said he was in the resuscitation unit. It took a few seconds to sink in; I couldn’t believe the worst could have happened. Then when a member of staff walked in with a policeman… oh, oh no! I couldn’t believe it. That this was the end of his life when it felt like it was just beginning. It was very, very, very hard.’
It still is. There are still holes in the lives of Colin, his ex-wife Sally, their son Jamie, and Rob’s friends, but together they have made a documentary about Rob’s life, his death and their fight against knife crime.
Called (K)nox: The Rob Knox Story – ‘nox’ is a reference to a spell in Harry Potter – it’s already won several awards and will now air on ITVX.
Colin and Sally realised their son’s fame meant they had a platform not afforded to other parents of stab victims, and they were determined to use it.
‘We knew we could rant and rave and solve nothing, or we could try to oppose knife crime,’ says Colin. ‘Our stance has always been to use Rob’s legacy to focus on what we can do. But I also wanted the documentary to show what a great lad Rob was; that he was a living, breathing person who was taken away. He was exceptional. He got an award from a supermarket he used to work at for stopping a guy who’d attacked a lady, and I remember how I once gave him a bottle filled with old coins. Instead of buying himself something with it, he donated the money to charity.’
The family set up the Rob Knox Foundation to educate about knife crime, and also to teach young people about working in the arts. ‘Like the bright side and the dark side of the moon, we work on both knife crime and the arts – teaching children about making films the way Rob and his friends used to,’ says Colin.
One of the foundation’s projects was a short film with Ray Winstone called Cold Kiss, made in 2010. Ray continues to support the Knox family in their campaign, and appears in the new documentary.
‘A member of my family was attacked and stabbed. They were very close to death so we’re one of the lucky stories, we got a survivor,’ says Ray.
Rob, pictured front left in the Half-Blood Prince. His family went on to set up the Rob Knox Foundation to educate about knife crime, and also to teach young people about working in the arts
‘I didn’t realise I’d met Rob before on a film we did called King Arthur – I found out it was him when I joined the cause. What affected me was the subject of knife crime. We shove it under the carpet and we call people who murder people with bombs terrorists, but this is a terrorism too. It terrorises people. I believe it’s getting worse and I don’t think anything is being done. I think our documentary is a step in the right direction.’
Nothing will bring Rob back, but Colin hopes that by putting knife crime back on the agenda he can ensure a few less parents will have to endure the pain he’s been through.
‘I want this to be discussed in Parliament because things can’t go on as they have,’ he says. ‘It feels like our message is falling on deaf ears, but we can only try.’
(K)nox: The Rob Knox Story will be available from Thursday on ITVX.
Crime time TV: Five cracking shows arriving very soon
THE TOWER II
Based on Kate London’s novel The Tower II: Death Message, the tale sees Collins on a cold case involving a girl who vanished on the day of Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997
Game Of Thrones star Gemma Whelan returns as DS Sarah Collins in series two of ITV’s hit drama. Based on Kate London’s novel The Tower II: Death Message, the tale sees Collins on a cold case involving a girl who vanished on the day of Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997.
CITY ON FIRE
APPLE TV+, MAY
New York student Samantha is shot in Central Park in 2003 after watching her friends’ band perform, in this gritty drama. The investigation that follows reveals a link between a series of mysterious fires, the New York music scene and a rich family.
CHANNEL 5, LATER THIS YEAR
Ross Kemp, in his first major TV role for seven years, plays investigating officer Tony Warden in this story of a disabled woman who thinks she may have witnessed a murder. While monitoring the CCTV on an estate, Hannah Quinn sees a criminal lead a young woman into a blind spot. When he emerges alone she appears to have disappeared, and apathetic Tony is put on the case. But what’s he hiding?
SKY DOCUMENTARIES, MARCH
The show includes testimony from underworld kingpins, the officers who tried to halt the trade and journalists who attempted to expose the drug barons
Told over three episodes, this is the story of the criminals who profited from selling heroin, ecstasy and cocaine in the Irish capital, with testimony from underworld kingpins, the officers who tried to halt the trade and journalists who attempted to expose the drug barons.
If you’re a police officer on the front line in Belfast, the crimes come at you thick and fast – even if you’re new to the force. Grace Ellis (Sherlock’s Sian Brooke) has taken the biggest gamble of her life by quitting a career in social work for a job on the beat in Northern Ireland, and she’s one of three rookie cops whose stories are followed in this six-part drama.