Friday, 28 January 2022

Boys found guilty of murdering teenager

BREAKING: Boys found guilty of murdering teenager

TWO teenagers have been found guilty of murdering a 13-year-old boy in Emmer Green.

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

Two 14-year-old boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were convicted at Reading Crown Court yesterday afternoon following a five-week trial.

A 14-year-old, who was 13 at the time of the incident, was found guilty along with a second, also 14, who had admitted manslaughter at the start of the proceedings.

Both defendants had pleaded guilty to one count of perverting the course of justice. The older defendant was found guilty on a second count of perverting the course of justice and the younger defendant was found not guilty.

Olly’s parents Amanda and Stewart held a football shirt and black and white chequered sunglasses belonging to their son as the verdict was announced.

The jury had deliberated for 18 hours and seven minutes before returning their unanimous verdict. Judge Heather Norton told them after delivering their verdict that these are "tragic circumstances for everybody, particularly the family of Olly Stephens."

During the trial, the boys told the court they did not mean to cause serious harm to Olly. The older defendant had asked the 14-year-old girl to "set Olly up" so he could humiliate him after an argument about Olly sharing a post on social media.

The younger defendant said the older boy had asked him to bring a knife to the "one on one fist fight" but the older boy disputed this. 

The pair met Olly at Bugs Bottom at about 3.30pm with the girl and three other boys who weren't involved in the incident. A physical fight started between Olly and the older defendant who described Olly as "getting the better of me". 

Earlier in the trial, the jury heard from the younger defendant that Olly had carried knives in his waistband and would either show or tell him about them. 

During the fight, the younger defendant said he saw Olly reaching for his waistband and thought he was pulling out a knife so stabbed him to defend the older boy.

The older defendant said he saw the younger boy "turning red" and stab Olly twice with only a few seconds between each wound. 

However, the younger boy disputes this and said he thought he had stabbed Olly in the upper right arm and didn't know how the second wound to the back happened.

Olly was pronounced dead at 5pm following an emergency surgery after the 30 to 40 second fight. The defendants fled the beauty spot on an electric scooter and proceeded to get rid of clothes and delete messages of social media apps.

The knife was thrown off Reading Bridge into the river.

The teenagers will now be sentenced at a later date, along with the 14-year-old girl who has also pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

For the full story, see Friday’s Henley Standard.


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