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'Haunted by our pal Rob's violent death'

PUBLISHED: 17:17 11 March 2009 | UPDATED: 09:43 12 August 2010

KNIFE HORROR: Ansy Dormer, Tom Hopkins and Charlie Grimley are traumatised by the attack which led to Rob Knox's death.

KNIFE HORROR: Ansy Dormer, Tom Hopkins and Charlie Grimley are traumatised by the attack which led to Rob Knox's death.

I HAVE a video in my head of everything that happened that night, but I don t ever want to play it again. It is almost a year on from when teenager Rob Knox

I HAVE a video in my head of everything that happened that night, but I don't ever want to play it again."

It is almost a year on from when teenager Rob Knox and his friends were viciously set upon by knife-wielding thug Karl Bishop outside the Metro bar in Sidcup.

But the mental scars they suffered alongside their physical injuries feel like it happened just yesterday.

Tom Hopkins, 19, who was with his friends on that fateful night on May 23 last year, told the Times he can never forget the moment his pal was stabbed five times whilst enjoying 'a normal night out'.

Mr Hopkins, who was overcome by tears whilst giving evidence to the Old Bailey last month, said: "Even sitting here now I don't replay that video.

"The only times I have played it was when I first told my mum and when I was in court. Both times I broke down.

"I still have trouble sleeping after what I saw."

The footballer had been at the bar in Station Road, Sidcup with his friends, Andy Dormer and Charlie Grimley, both now 17, when Bishop appeared at the bar having threatened to stab Mr Knox's brother, Jamie.

After Dean Saunders, one of Mr Knox's friends, threw a punch at the knifeman, Bishop stabbed Mr Dormer below the neck then stabbed four others including Mr Knox as he tried to restrain him.

Mr Hopkins received a minor cut to the back of his head as he wrestled Bishop to the ground.

Bishop was cleared of wounding Mr Hopkins but found guilty of wounding with intent to cause GBH of Charlie Grimley and Nicky Lee Jones and of wounding Dean Saunders and Andy Dormer.

He was jailed for at least 20 years in prison last Thursday (March 5).

Mr Hopkins said: "For us it's never going to be enough no matter how long he gets because it will never bring Rob back.

"At the moment I hope he suffers so much in that 20 years and never comes out."

Mr Grimley added: "It just shows how poor English law is that he got four consecutive sentences - in 20 years time he will be out and can have a life. Rob can't have that."

Dean Saunders, now 22, was particularly affected by the attack, which has left him requiring a walking stick.

The eldest of the victims was stabbed in the neck by Bishop and suffered spinal injury that has left him with a general weakness in all his limbs.

Traumatised by his last encounter with Bishop, Mr Saunders asked that a screen separate them at the Old Bailey.

Bromley College student Mr Dormer said: "I've known Dean a long time through the Metro bar.

"The first time I ever saw any aggression from him was the night Karl Bishop hit him. He never had an aggressive bone in him. I think Bishop went down to Metro for Dean, not for Rob."

Despite Mr Knox's untimely death days after finishing playing Marcus Belby in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, his friends wonder whether lessons were learnt from the tragedy.

"I don't think it has really affected the youths in this area," said Mr Dormer. "Only those of us who went through the emotional turmoil.

"Sometimes at Metro you still get a load of boys there who are clearly looking for trouble and you feel like asking them 'are you even aware what has happened here?'"

Aged just 16 at the time of the attack, Mr Dormer recalled when the crazed Bishop plunged a knife under his collarbone.

He said: "We were all covered in blood. Everyone was covered in blood. I don't even remember falling asleep but I did. Charlie was trying to keep me awake, asking me his name.

"I said 'Charlie' and he slapped me and said 'It's Grimley'."

Former Hurstmere School pupil Mr Grimley, a mechanic, said: "I feel I have to think about people having knives now when I never used to.

"I've never been one to get into fights, but now I feel paranoid I'm going to relive that night. You want to stay away from trouble."

The three teenagers laugh and joke as they speak about what has happened since the murder, and reflect the sense of humour they all accredit to their lost friend.

The friends recall former Bromley drama student Mr Knox as a normal, down to earth friend who was always joking, but always strong-headed and protective of his brother.

Within weeks of his death, Mr Knox was posthumously given a Bravery award for chasing two youths who hit a woman with a bottle from Bluewater shopping centre.

But according to his friends, his employers had initially reprimanded him for his actions.

Mr Dormer said: "I remember the night after it happened, he told me his bosses at Marks and Spencer gave him a disciplinary.

"He was p***ed off because he did the right thing. He helped the security guards and the police chase these guys but he got in trouble for it. He said he still would have done it again."

The victims and their friends plan to light candles at the Metro bar in memory of Mr Knox on the anniversary of the attack on May 23.

Mr Knox's parents are raising money to give on youth projects in Sidcup. To donate to their memorial fund visit www.robknox.co.uk.

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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