Two 14-year-old boys have been convicted of the murder of Olly Stephens, aged 13, which occurred earlier this year near Reading.
The two boys were found guilty of murder today (26/7) at Reading Crown Court.
One was found guilty of a charge of perverting the course of justice. The other was found not guilty of a charge of perverting the course of justice.
All verdicts were unanimous.
Both had already pleaded guilty during the trial to a further charge each of perverting the course of justice in relation to the incident.
A 14-year-old girl also pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter and a charge of perverting the course of justice prior to the trial beginning.
Due to the ages of the defendants, it is against the law for any material relating to this trial to be published which names them or may identify them.
Olly was killed on 3 January this year in Bugs Bottom Fields, Caversham, just over 200 yards from his home address.
The court heard how the three defendants conspired between them to lure Olly to the field, following an argument he was involved in with one of the group.
When Olly arrived at the field, the two 14-year-old boys, one of whom was 13 years old at the time, started a fight with Olly.
As the fight progressed, the younger boy drew a knife that he had brought with him and stabbed Olly twice before all the defendants fled the scene, leaving Olly critically injured.
Significant attempts were made by members of the public and the ambulance service to save Olly’s life, but tragically, his wounds were too serious and he was declared dead at the scene.
A police investigation was launched, and the defendants were all identified. Despite their efforts to pervert the course of justice, they were charged on 6 January.
Senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Howard, of the Thames Valley Police Major Crime Unit, said: “I am pleased that the full facts of Olly’s death have now been established and that those responsible for his murder have been held to account. Olly’s family have told me on many occasions how he was a young man who stood up for the underdog and what was fair – I hope that Olly would feel that in that sense, justice has been achieved.
“But this is not a case where any of us should be celebrating these verdicts and this outcome.
“The circumstances of this case are horrific, and will no doubt shock and appal people. Olly’s completely unnecessary killing, orchestrated and carried out by three other children, should horrify us as a society.
“A 13-year-old boy with a bright future ahead of him has died in the most tragic circumstances, over a childish argument between a group of his peers. His family and friends have been devastated by his loss.
“The impact of this case on those involved cannot be overstated. One young life has been ended, and three others have been changed forever, not to mention the lives of everyone else who knew and loved Olly.
“I would like to pay tribute to Olly’s parents, sister and his wider family who have had to listen over the last four weeks to details of the terrible events that led to Olly’s tragic death.
“No parents should be made to endure this kind of horror and then have to listen to detailed evidence of their son’s final moments, along with the dreadful revelation of the determined plan by those involved to ambush Olly and attack him.
“The courage, patience and dignity they have displayed from the first tragic moments of this case has been truly remarkable and I cannot thank them enough for this.
“I would also like to thank those members of the public and medical staff who provided first aid and comfort to Olly and his family that afternoon. They were faced with a shocking situation and the courage, determination and public spirit they showed was exemplary. I know that Olly’s family are incredibly grateful for their efforts and take real comfort in the care and support that Olly was given.
“Olly’s death is a tragedy that should never have happened. We all have a duty to educate and protect the children of our communities to ensure other families do not suffer the same devastation.”
The three defendants will be sentenced at Reading Crown Court at a date to be determined.