Wednesday, 19 January 2022

Teenager wanted apology for spreading false rumors

Teenager wanted apology for spreading false rumors

A TEENAGER accused of stabbing a 13-year-old boy told the court he was “going to make him say sorry”.

Oliver Stephens, known as Olly, was stabbed twice in the chest and back after being “lured” to Bugs Bottom between Hunters Chase and Gravel Hill in Emmer Green on January 3.

Two 14-year-old boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, are on trial at Reading Crown Court for murder, which they both deny.

The older boy has admitted manslaughter and to perverting the course of justice while a 14-year-old girl has also pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Timothy Raggatt, for the younger boy, who was 13 at the time of the incident, called him to the witness stand during the second week of the trial.

The defendant told the jury he had known Olly since the end of 2019 and thought he was “funny” and had always known him to carry knives.

He said: “I know he liked them and hid them around his area where he lived. I know he had a knife on him each time I met him. He would show it to me or tell me he had a knife on him.”

He explained that he was in a group chat with other boys who would share pictures and videos of themselves with knives.

Olly was also in the group chat along with the older defendant with whom he “always had arguments and disagreements”.

In the days leading up to the incident, the younger defendant denied knowing about any
conversations between the older defendant and the 14-year-old girl who have been accused of planning to “set up” Olly.

However, Rossano Scamardella, for the older defendant, said the two boys spoke in the early hours before the incident on an app called House Party.

Mr Scamardella said the younger defendant had claimed he “wanted to get in on it”, which the boy denied.

But he did admit to having previous grievances with Olly. He said: “I had a few minor problems with him, talking about me when I’m not there, simple things like that.

“He said bad things that I’ve apparently done when I haven’t like saying bad things about someone behind their back. He talked about beating people up when I don’t even know who they are. I didn’t like that.”

The boy said he received a call from the older boy on the morning of the incident who had asked him to bring a knife.

He told the court: “I said okay because Olly was probably going to have a knife on him. Because I know he carries knives and I’d seen him with knives quite a lot of times.

“I thought [the older defendant] and Olly would have a fight. He was saying that we don’t like him and stuff like that. [They] were probably going to fight and I was going to make him say sorry to me for talking about me. I did take a knife, it was in a bush near my house — it was a vegetable knife.”

The boy showed the court with his hands how long the blade was but Alison Morgan, prosecuting, suggested the boy was lying about the length of it because the stab wound to Olly’s back was 17cm deep. The boy denied this and insisted that the blade was shorter in length.

The pair met the girl outside Budgens in Peppard Road and walked to Bugs Bottom.

He said: “Olly wasn’t [at Bugs Bottom when we arrived] so we were just walking around [and] messing around. [We] went into a wooded area. I took the knife out of my sleeve and started stabbing at a tree.”

When the girl had met up with Olly and brought him to the top of Bugs Bottom, the younger boy approached him at about 3.30pm.

He said: “I was asking [Olly] why he was saying these things on social media and told him to say sorry. He said something like, ‘f**k off, are you mad?’ in my face about a metre away.”

He told the jury that Olly and the older defendant then began to fight. The boy told the court he then saw Olly reaching down to his waistband and thought he was pulling out a knife.

He said: “I’ve seen him with knives a lot of times, he kept them in his waistband. I jumped out and stabbed him in what I thought was the arm.”

The boy said he didn’t mean to hurt Olly and didn’t know he had stabbed him. He denied claims that Olly shouted: “You stabbed me”.

He said he didn’t know of the second stab wound to the back until he was told at the police station.

He said: “The knife was still in my left hand. I can’t remember how I was holding it. [The other defendant] had punched Olly and he fell back on to me and I was still holding the knife.

“I pushed him off me, I didn’t realise the knife was in my hand.”

He said Olly and the other defendant were still fighting afterwards and the whole incident lasted between 30 and 40 seconds.

The defendants then got on an electric scooter and left the field. Olly was pronounced dead at 5pm following emergency surgery.

The younger boy went to Reading Bridge and threw the knife in the river and disposed of his clothing because he feared he was caught on CCTV.

The court heard the boy was “sobbing and sad” when he found out Olly had died in a news article later that evening.

Earlier in the trial, Ms Morgan, prosecuting, showed the jury videos and pictures found on the younger defendant’s phone of him with knives.

She said a video of him “swinging a knife” at the other defendant was “scary” but the younger defendant said he was playing around. “You can clearly see it’s a joke,” he said.

At the end of his evidence, the boy told the court he felt “angry, sad and scared” about what happened.

He said: “One of my old friends is dead and my life has been ruined and his family’s lives have been ruined.”

The trial continues.

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