Friday, 28 January 2022
A TEENAGER who has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of a 13-year-old boy told a court it was supposed to be a “one-on-one fist fight”.
Oliver Stephens, known as Olly, was stabbed twice in the chest and back after being “lured” to Bugs Bottom between Hunters Close and Gravel Hill in Emmer Green on January 3.
Two 14-year-old boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, are on trial for murder at Reading Crown Court, which they both deny.
Both have pleaded guilty to perverting the court of justice and the older boy, along with a 14-year-old girl, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
A jury heard in the second week of the trial that the younger boy, who was 13 at the time of the incident, had meant to stab Olly in the arm after believing he was about to pull a knife out of his waistband.
The boy told the court he doesn’t know how the stab wound to the back was inflicted and didn’t find out until hours after Olly’s death.
In the morning of the incident, the younger defendant claimed the older boy had asked him to bring a knife to meet Olly but the boy denies this.
Rossano Scamardella, for the older boy, called him as a witness during the third week of the trial.
The defendant told the court he had known Olly since the end of 2019 and considered him a “friend” along with the younger defendant.
But their relationship broke down when the older defendant took a video of someone being humiliated and posted it on to a group chat. Olly recorded it before sending it on to someone else.
The boy then planned to have a “one-on-one” fight with Olly with no weapons so he could humiliate him for recording the video.
Messages were found on the defendant’s phone which Alison Morgan, prosecuting, described as “threatening”.
When asked about the messages, the older defendant told the court: “I was trying to big myself up and make myself bigger than I am.”
The night before the incident, the older defendant organised with the 14-year-old girl a time and place to “set Olly up”.
There are disputes about whether both defendants were in contact with each other overnight but the older defendant claimed he told the younger boy to “stay out of it” because “it’s my fight”.
Ms Morgan, when cross-examining the older boy, questioned why he then invited the younger defendant along if it was supposed to a “one-on-one fight”.
The boy told the court: “I was asking him if he wanted to come so he can witness me and Olly having a fight.” He denied asking the younger boy to bring a knife and said he didn’t know he had one on the day until the incident occurred which Ms Morgan told him was “complete nonsense”.
She pointed out the older defendant knew the younger boy carried knives as he had previously told the court he saw him with a knife “a few times” and “most of the time” he showed them to him.
Ms Morgan referred to another incident where the older defendant had asked the younger boy to “bring a cheffer” to a previous fight he had organised.
The boy claims he wanted a knife for a “photo opportunity” not for a fight.
Describing the incident, the older defendant said he took Olly’s phone and asked him to unlock it and he responded by punching at him.
The two then started to hit each other and the older defendant described Olly as “getting the better” of him.
As the fight continued, the boy said the younger defendant was going red, ran at Olly and stabbed him twice. He describes the stabbing as “quick” with only a “few seconds” between each wound.
The boy believed Olly was stabbed in the stomach at first as he saw Olly reach for that area and shout, “you stabbed me” multiple times.
But Timothy Raggatt, for the younger boy, said: “You know that didn’t happen. You didn’t even know he had been stabbed until later.”
The boy then told the court he couldn’t remember what the knife looked like and denied suggestions from Ms Morgan that he and the younger boy attacked Olly together.
The whole incident lasted between 30 to 40 seconds before the two boys got on an electric scooter and left the park near Hemdean Road. Olly was pronounced dead at 5pm following emergency surgery.
When asked why he left the park with the younger defendant despite claims he was calling him a “d***head” for what he had done, the older boy said he was “panicked” and “wanted to get out of the area”.
The court heard he got rid of his gloves as he thought they had Olly’s blood on them. The younger defendant also got rid of his clothes and dumped them on train tracks near Palmer Park in Reading.
The pair found out Olly had died after a phone call from a friend and the older defendant claimed he told the younger boy to “hand himself in”.
Messages were found on the older boy’s phone after finding out about Olly’s death, describing him as being “M’d off”, meaning murdered.
The boy then returned home and started deleting messages and images from his phone, including one of him holding a knife which fits the length and width of a knife that could have been used to stab Olly.
Ms Morgan questioned why the older defendant had chosen “specific images” to delete instead of just removing everything and suggested it was because he was “holding the murder weapon”.
The boy denied this and said he didn’t remember why he chose the images to delete.
The court heard that, following advice from his solicitor, the boy then handed himself in to the police later that evening.
Earlier in the trial, the court heard the older defendant was a “smart kid” who excelled in various subjects in school. He told the court he felt “guilty and remorseful” over Olly’s death.
The trial continues.
26 July 2021
POLL: Have your say