Boy, 15, unfit to plea after Stevenage and Letchworth stabbings

PUBLISHED: 17:37 15 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:41 15 January 2020

The case was heard at St Albans Crown Court. Picture: Danny Loo

The case was heard at St Albans Crown Court. Picture: Danny Loo

©2019 Archant

A teenage boy who stabbed three people in Stevenage and Letchworth – with two incidents occurring while he was on bail – has been detained under the Mental Health Act.

The boy, who is now 15 and cannot be named, is to be detained in a mental health unit after being deemed unfit to plead.

Prosecutor Claire Howell told St Albans Crown Court yesterday: "Aged between 13 to 15, he stabbed three people, including two children, with a knife. Fortunately none died or suffered life-changing injuries."

On January 7, 2018 - aged 13 - the boy was with a group of others in Letchworth, near Morrisons supermarket, when he threatened a man in his 20s, the court heard.

When the man turned away, the boy stabbed him in the back. The attack was filmed on a mobile phone and circulated on social media. The victim suffered a one centimetre stab wound to the left of his spine. He received stitches and was discharged.

Examination of the teenager's phone when he was arrested found he had been following media coverage of the stabbing online.

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On September 21, 2018, the boy - then aged 14 - was on police bail, when he approached a 15 year-old-boy in Fairlands Valley Park in Stevenage.

He punched the victim in the face and, as he spun round, he stabbed him in the back, saying: "Run away you pussy", said the prosecutor.

The victim was treated for a 3cm deep wound.

Then, on April 15, 2019, the boy was on bail from the crown court when he approached a 16-year-old on a bike in Stevenage. He took out a kitchen knife and lunged at the boy, who suffered wounds to his hands. The attack was filmed and circulated on social media.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Oliver White said the boy had "complex mental health difficulties". He said he had autistic spectrum disorder and significant learning difficulties.

Judge Michael Simon made a hospital order under the Mental Health Act with a restriction order, which means the boy cannot be discharged from hospital without the consent of the Ministry of Justice.

The judge said: "Having heard and read all of the evidence, I take the view that it is necessary for the protection of the public to impose a section 41 restriction order."

The court heard that the boy is now being managed extremely well at St Andrews Hospital - a mental health facility in Northampton.

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