The violent past of Harry Potter actor murder suspect

PUBLISHED: 12:11 02 March 2009 | UPDATED: 11:25 12 August 2010



THE alleged killer of Harry Potter star Rob Knox was convicted nearly four years ago of stabbing two men outside a cab office. Karl Bishop, 21, of Beaver Lodge, Carlton Road, Sidcup, who stands accused of murdering Knox and wounding five of his friends,

THE alleged killer of Harry Potter star Rob Knox was convicted nearly four years ago of stabbing two men outside a cab office.

Karl Bishop, 21, of Beaver Lodge, Carlton Road, Sidcup, who stands accused of murdering Knox and wounding five of his friends, had pleaded guilty to separate charges on May 26, 2005 following an incident in Bromley.

The Old Bailey heard on Monday (23) that Bishop admitted stabbing Ian Sutherland and James Doherty outside a cab office in East Street, Bromley on December 4, 2004.

He boasted he had a knife and jabbed Doherty in the nose before slashing Sutherland across the face.

Mr Sutherland needed five stitches to the wound to his chin and Mr Doherty had a cut to his nose glued.

He pleaded guilty to wounding with intent and assault occasioning actual bodily harm and was jailed at Croydon Crown Court.

Jurors heard there had been a previous incident with Doherty on July 17, 2003, when he pulled out a butterfly knife and said: "If you hit me you will get stabbed up."

He was summoned to court but the prosecution withdrew the case on March 22, 2004.

He claimed that he had only been wielding a set of keys.

The Old Bailey heard on Monday that Bishop had been in trouble with police since the age of 14, was kicked out of primary school and sent to a psychologist for anger management as a boy.

He was released in March 2007and found some work installing air conditioning and window cleaning but at the time of Rob Knox's murder was unemployed, the court heard.

Bishop said he had never been to the Metro Bar in Sidcup until May 16, 2008, a week before the murder of 18 year-old Robert Knox.

That night he left the venue at closing time and realised his phone was missing.

Jurors have heard he began accusing Robert Knox and his friends of stealing it before punching 22 year-old Dean Saunders in the face.

Bishop told the court: "He pushed me away. It was a hard push. I punched him in the face. I didn't know whether he was going to hit me so I punched him.

"Then I got jumped on. Lots of people just starting running in and punching me. Five or six people or more.

"They punched me 'til I got to the floor. I got stamped on, people stamping on my head and kicking me."

He said he managed to get up and run but was chased through the underpass and set on again.

He then ran to his mother's office at Lima Cars but after setting off home was chased again by the group until the police arrived.

Bishop admitted: "I was a bit angry about what happened. I was a bit battered and bruised.

"My eye was terrible, my nose was hurting, there was blood on my eyebrow. I didn't go out during the week."

Bishop said he returned to the Metro bar the next weekend on May 23 last year.

It is claimed he threatened Rob Knox's younger brother Jamie with a knife after another confrontation with the same group.

Bishop is said to have stabbed 16 year-old Andrew Dormer in the chest, Nicky Lee Jones, 20, in the hand, 17 year-old Charlie Grimley in the face and arm, 22 year-old Dean Saunders in the neck and 18 year-old Tom Hopkins in the head.

Robert Knox, who had only just completed filming for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, was stabbed five times and collapsed with a fatal injury to the chest.

He later told jurors he was 'trying to get away' after being attacked by Rob Knox and his friends outside the bar.

He said he pulled out the knives to scare people but claimed he could not remember stabbing anyone.

Bishop said: "From what I remember I was swinging, trying to keep people from coming towards me.

"I didn't intend to wound anyone at all but they attacked me.

"There was no other options. They had me surrounded. I couldn't go anywhere if I wanted to."

Bishop said he next remembered being held down in the flowerbed and battered with a piece of wood.

He added: "What my intention was to scare people away from me and as they kept running at me the knife was catching them and they kept running into me.

"I was trying to get away."

He said he was relieved when police arrived.

Bishop told the court that he went to the bar with friends but they were not allowed in by bouncers because it was after 11pm.

He said he then got into a fight with a youth who was staring at him from a car.

He claimed he was then attacked by a group of five people before managing to escape in his friend's car.

Bishop returned home and took two knives from the kitchen drawer, the court heard.

"Two is scarier than one," he added. "I had just been beaten up again, twice in two weeks.

"My assumption was it was the same people. I just wanted to scare who was down there. I weren't really thinking that straight at the time."

He said he began regretting his decision when he arrived at the bar and decided to get a cab home, adding: "It could have all gone wrong, and it did."

He told the court he did not have a chance to leave because he was then surrounded.

His barrister Ian Bourne QC asked: "How were you feeling?"

Bishop replied: "Scared. I thought they was going to hurt me. They was screaming, chucking bottles at me, just going mad."

He said he put the knives away when 16 year-old Andrew Dormer shouted at him to have 'a proper fight'.

Bishop said: "I put them in my pockets. I got smashed in the side of the face and my head hit the door.

"I took the knives out and I don't really remember the rest. As soon as he ran at me, everyone just ran at me. Six, seven, maybe more."

Bishop admitted he shouted abuse at the victim's friends as he was arrested but denied laughing and winking as he left the hospital.

In cross examination, prosecutor Brian Altman QC said: "You want the jury to think you are the victim."

Bishop replied: "I'm not because someone did end up dying but I was attacked."

Asked why he said 'Sweet' when told Robert Knox had died, he replied: "I said it sarcastically."

The trial continues.

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