As a dedicated, on-screen police officer detective chief inspector John Luther made a career of bringing criminals to justice.

But for Idris Elba, who played the popular TV detective, it is something of a case of life imitating art as the actor gave his backing to a campaign set up in the wake of the death of Norwich teenager Joe Dix.

Eastern Daily Press: Joe DixJoe Dix (Image: Submitted by family of Joe Dix)The 18-year-old was stabbed to death in Mile Cross and after his three killers were jailed last year his devastated parents launched a charity aimed at raising awareness about the dangers of knife crime and criminal exploitation.

Eastern Daily Press: Police at the scene after Joe Dix was stabbed to death in NorwichPolice at the scene after Joe Dix was stabbed to death in Norwich (Image: Peter Walsh, Newsquest)Elba, himself a prominent knife crime campaigner, has given his support to the Joe Dix Foundation when he met the teen's parents at a knife crime event in London last month.

Eastern Daily Press: Idris Elba with Phil and Emma DixIdris Elba with Phil and Emma Dix (Image: Submitted)

Eastern Daily Press: Idris Elba at Don't Stop Your Future campaignIdris Elba at Don't Stop Your Future campaign (Image: PA Wire)

Phil and Emma Dix had been invited down to London to take part in an event at Parliament Square aimed at raising awareness about knife crime where clothes were laid out to represent the 247 people who has lost their lives to knife crime between 2022 and 2023. 

Eastern Daily Press: Idris Elba with a Joe Dix Foundation cardIdris Elba with a Joe Dix Foundation card (Image: Submitted)The couple, who were among other families invited to take part in the event on January 8 which was part of Elba's Don't Stop Your Future campaign.

Emma, 47, said: "We were told to go and wait.

"I thought he would come over and talk to us as a group.

"He walked over to us and probably chatted to us for about five minutes.

"He was very sincere and listened to our story about Joe."

Eastern Daily Press: Joe DixJoe Dix (Image: Supplied by family of Joe Dix)Phil, 46, said Elba, also known for The Wire, was "an all round, really nice guy".

"He looked genuinely shocked for us when he heard Joe's story.

"He said he would try and support the foundation in any way he can."

Elba was pictured with a card advertising the charity foundation and personally signed posters used by the group.

Eastern Daily Press: Idris Elba signing Joe Dix Foundation postersIdris Elba signing Joe Dix Foundation posters (Image: Submitted)Phil added: "I felt he was really sincere.

"In his eyes he looked like he was shocked.

"He said he would do what he could to support the Joe Dix Foundation and spread the word about the foundation.

"He was a really, really nice down to earth guy."

Speaking earlier this year, Elba, said he "can't stay silent as young lives are lost to brutal and heartless crimes".

In October last year Hans Beeharry, then 20, was sentenced to life with a minimum of 20 years and Benjamin Gil, then 19, and Cameron Palmer, also then 19, were both given 21-year jail terms after they were found guilty of murdering Mr Dix outside his flat in Vale Green, Mile Cross on January 28 2022.

Eastern Daily Press: Cameron Palmer, Hans Beeharry and Benjamin GillCameron Palmer, Hans Beeharry and Benjamin Gill (Image: Norfolk Constabulary)

Judge Alice Robinson said all three “collectively” took a knife, or at least two knives, to the scene and “used that knife to commit the murder”.

She said the onslaught on Mr Dix was “swift” and a “group attack in which you all played a part”.

In the days that followed the sentencing, the Joe Dix Foundation was launched.

Eastern Daily Press: Emma DixEmma Dix (Image: Submitted)

It is hoped the foundation will raise awareness of the dangers of child exploitation, gangs and knife crime in our region to parents, carers and youngsters.

Speaking at the time, Emma said: "We felt that Joe can’t have died for nothing.

“We just feel it’s really important to speak out about our loss and the experiences that we’ve gone through and if we can help anyone with the early warning signs... we want to help people.”

"We don't want any family to go through what we have and what we've been feeling."

Go to www.joedixfoundation.co.uk or email contact@joedixfoundation.co.uk to find out more about the charity.