Killer kids who lured boy, 14, to death in “ambush” jailed for nearly 30 years
Two boys and a girl, all aged 14, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have been convicted of killing Oliver Stephens after luring him to a park near his home in Emmer Green, Reading, Berkshire
Olly Stephens: Parents arrive at court for sentencing of killers
- 15:39, 24 Sep 2021
- UPDATED16:30, 24 Sep 2021
Three killer kids who lured an autistic classmate, 14, to his death in an “ambush” have been locked up for a combined 28 years.
Olly Stephens was coaxed to a park by a 13-year-old girl January 3 this year, where two other boys stabbed him to death
The two boys were convicted of murdering the victim in Reading following a trial this summer.
The girl, who set up the “ambush”, already admitted manslaughter and did not stand trial. She was sentenced to three years and two months in a young offenders’ institution.
The three defendants, all now 14 years old, cannot be named because of their age.
Olly, who had autism, was stabbed twice after he refused to apologise for a social media post – and he died in the arms of his father in an ambulance.
Olly Stephens was stabbed to death after being lured to a park near his home ( Image: PA)
His parents said told Reading Crown Court were “completely broken” by their son’s murder ahead of his killers’ sentencing on Friday.
The younger of the two boys refused to be transported to court on Friday morning, although Judge Heather Norton did not let this delay the sentencing.
The teen’s killers attacked him after a dispute on social media ( Image: PA)
Alison Morgan QC, prosecuting, told the court that both of the boys were equally culpable for Olly’s murder, despite only one of them stabbing him.
She also rejected the female defendant’s claim that she arranged the set-up ‘as a result of some sort of intoxication on her part’, BerkshireLive reports.
A witness who treated Olly at the scene said she saw the girl strutting around in an arrogant manner, looking like ‘a Queen Bee’, Ms Morgan said.
She called one of her parents to collect her from the park and later told police that she ‘got scared and ran’ when she saw people she did not know stab Olly, the court heard.
Olly was described as a ‘loving, caring, funny soul’ by his family ( Image: Berkshire Live / Darren Pepe)MOST READ
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However, Ms Morgan said: “Your Honour will have to make an assessment of this defendant’s role. It is undoubtably the case that in pre-sentence the girl sought to diminish her responsibility in what happened to Olly. She told lies.
“True it might be that the girl has taken positive steps in custody in rehab plans but in terms of her expressions of remorse and the weight that your honour attaches to that, they have been placed consistently in a framework of denial of responsibility.”
The girl pleaded guilty to manslaughter after saying she did not know knives would be involved.
Her barrister Kate Lumsdon claimed the girl was shaking and vomiting before being questioned by police – and she still wakes up with nightmares.
Olly was convinced to go Bugs Bottom field near his home in Emmer Green, Reading, Berkshire, by the girl, where he was then “ambushed” by the two boys.
The court heard both boys had “grievances” with Olly, who had autism, while the girl is said to have described any violence against him as “karma” in the run-up to his death.
A Good Samaritan attempted CPR on Olly however he sadly died ( Image: Berkshire Live / Darren Pepe)
It was said that the younger of the two boys, aged 13 at the time, inflicted the fatal blows on Olly’s body.
The younger boy will be sentenced for murder, and perverting the course of justice after he admitted disposing of clothing worn at the time of the attack.
The older boy will be sentenced for murder, and two counts of perverting the course of justice for deleting apps from his mobile phone, which he admitted, and for throwing away clothes worn during the attack, which he denied but was convicted of.
The girl pleaded guilty to manslaughter and perverting the course of justice by deleting data from her mobile phone.
The trial was held in special conditions, with frequent breaks and counsel removing their gowns and wigs, due to the defendants’ ages.
One message left outside Olly’s school said his death was ‘felt by many’ ( Image: Geoff Swaine/REX/Shutterstock)
Jurors were told the killers had shared several messages on Snapchat in the days leading up to Olly’s death, which demonstrated hostility towards him.
The jury was shown videos of the boys posing with knives and heard them talk about “shanking” or stabbing Olly, who they had only met in person a handful of times.
The girl said in one message to one of the defendants: “Karma – he (Olly) deserves all of this.”
The older boy also said: “I actually hate the kid with a passion – if I was to see him right now I’d probably end up killing him.”
However, the girl’s barrister claims this was just ‘two young people sounding off… it was hyperbole (and) not meant to be taken literally’.
Olly’s parents Stuart and Amanda Stephens said they were ‘completely broken’ by their son’s murder ( Image: PA)
A witness to the murder said she saw a number of punches being thrown, although the boys acknowledged that Olly was getting the better of the fight.
During the fight the younger boy stepped in and stabbed Olly.
Ms Morgan went on to say of the witness: “She could see blood coming from his chest and heard sucking sounds, which she knew was not a good sound as air was not getting into Olly’s lungs.
“She noticed the shock was setting in and knew he was in cardiac arrest and began CPR on him.”
The older boy messaged a friend: “Me and my boy slapped him up but my boy backed out and f****** shanked him.”
Ms Morgan said: “There was no sign of any regret and no suggestion he was in any way shocked.”
Tributes were left outside Highdown School following the murder ( Image: Berkshire Live / Darren Pepe)
The younger boy also told a female friend in a message “it was the biggest mistake of my life” and he carried out the alleged attack “out of pure anger”.
While being questioned, the younger boy said he took a knife to the scene because the older boy told him to and that he expected Olly would have a weapon.
During the fight, he said Olly reached for his own waistband and assumed at that moment he was going to pull out a knife.
The boy said he then pulled a vegetable knife – which he had taken from a bush near his house and put in his sleeve – because he thought the older boy “was going to get stabbed”.
Asked why he did this, the younger boy told the court he wanted to “scare Olly” and that he had aimed at his arm “to stop him from pulling out a knife”.
The older boy had argued he was unaware the other was bringing a knife and was shocked when the younger boy stabbed Olly.
Speaking before sentencing on Friday, Olly’s dad Stuart said his son’s death was an “execution” facilitated by a “vain, selfish girl.”
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He added: “What kind of evil can lure a child to his death?”
“This was nothing short of an execution. Our home is a tomb, we are beyond devastated.
“We are strong enough to deal with most problems thrown our way but this has completely broken us.”
Mr Stephens told Reading Crown Court: “Olly trusted people too much, it was part of his make-up, it was part of his autism – it was why we loved him.
“He knew no sense of danger, he stood up for himself in a confrontation and was unable to back down, but was kind and loving.”
Mr Stephens described the “utterly horrific” moment he was told his son’s body was now forensic evidence, and that he would no longer be able to hold him or touch him.
“Had he asked me for help that day, I would have moved heaven and earth to give it to him,” he said.
In an emotional statement after the trial, Olly’s family previously said “within 13 minutes of leaving the safety of his loving home, Olly had left us forever.”
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His relatives described him as “a loving, caring, funny soul who would stick up for the underdog”.
They said: “He was a huge character in and around our home, with his friends and at school.
“He made people laugh, he could dance with the best of them, and he gave his love freely.
“His sense of humour and his wicked comic timing had us and his friends in stitches many a time.
“He was warm, kind, soulful, a deep thinker and a great carer to those around him.
“He was loyal and trusted people to a fault. He would never back down from a fight, he would defend those that couldn’t or wouldn’t defend themselves.”
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