Tue, 21 Feb 2023
Operation Eider’ saw the prosecution of five youths following the fatal stabbing of a 53-year -old man outside an Asda supermarket in Redditch in March last year. All five were charged with the man’s murder and with alternative charges of manslaughter and violent disorder.
Leading Joe Keating, Phil Bradley KC represented ‘K’, who was 15 years old at the time of the incident. “K” and a number of other youths travelled by train from Birmingham to Redditch in the early evening of March 8th. They wore face coverings and CCTV recovered from the train showed that “K” had a large kitchen knife tucked into the waistband of his tracksuit bottoms.
When the group arrived in Redditch, they went to the Asda supermarket and split into two groups. The five defendants formed the smaller group and went into the toilets, where they engaged in some anti-social behaviour before leaving the store and sitting on some trolleys. The victim challenged them about their behaviour, leading to a confrontation captured by a distant CCTV camera. In the seconds before the man was stabbed, the knife “K” carried in his waistband was taken by another boy (“C”) who then plunged the weapon into the man’s chest. The boys then ran away. The victim went into the shop where he collapsed. Despite the help of onlookers and the Emergency Services, he was declared dead at the scene.
At an earlier hearing in the proceedings, “K” entered a guilty plea to possessing the knife. However, he and three other youths claimed that, rather than being party to a joint enterprise to kill or to cause the victim really serious harm, “C” acted unilaterally – taking the knife from “K” before striking the victim a single, fatal blow.
On 18th January 2023, following a 41-day trial before Mr Justice Fraser and a Jury, “C” was convicted of murder. “K” was unanimously acquitted of both murder and manslaughter, as were the remaining three youths. “K” and two of the three other boys were convicted of violent disorder. At a sentence hearing on 15th February 2023, “K” received a 3-year Youth Rehabilitation Order.