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Teenage killer who stabbed solicitor can be named as he turns 18

Ewan Ireland, from Westerhope, Newcastle, last month admitted murdering father-of-two Peter Duncan and can be identified.

Peter Duncan’s killer can now be named as Ewan Ireland as he has turned 18 (Northumbria Police/PA)
Peter Duncan’s killer can now be named as Ewan Ireland as he has turned 18 (Northumbria Police/PA)

By Tom Wilkinson, PA

A teenage killer who stabbed a solicitor to death at a busy shopping centre with a stolen screwdriver can now be named as he turns 18.

Ewan Ireland, whose identity could not be revealed by the media when he was still a juvenile, already had a history of violence when he targeted family man Peter Duncan, a 52-year-old father.

Newcastle Crown Court previously heard how the in-house lawyer for a multi-national maritime firm was on his way home and was “simply in the wrong place at the wrong time” when he crossed paths with the yob at an entrance to Newcastle’s Eldon Square shopping centre.

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Police officers conduct a search near to Old Eldon Square, Newcastle, where Ireland struck (Owen Humphreys/PA)

The solicitor raised his arm to let the teenager past at the doorway – to which the youth took exception – and a struggle followed in which Mr Duncan was fatally stabbed in the heart.

He collapsed near to a Greggs outlet in the mall, which was still busy with tea-time shoppers on August 14.

The serial criminal was on bail for affray when he stabbed the devoted father with a screwdriver he had stolen from a Poundland store earlier that day.

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Police searched the city centre and later found the murder weapon (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Ireland was still 17 when he pleaded guilty last month to murder, and at that time his identity could not be reported, despite the utmost seriousness of the case.

But now he has become an adult, section 45 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 no longer applies.

The case provoked outrage, with many people commenting on social media that if Ireland felt he was old enough to carry a weapon, he was old enough to be named as a killer.

When he murdered Mr Duncan, the teenager from the Westerhope area of Newcastle was looking for another youth with whom he had fallen out about some cigarettes.

At a previous bail hearing, prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw said Ireland and Mr Duncan came into contact with each other by chance when they were walking in opposite directions.

Mr Wardlaw said: “The deceased raised his arm to let the defendant get past.

“It is captured on CCTV footage.

“The defendant took exception to that, took hold of the deceased and a struggle ensued.”

Mr Duncan managed to push the teenager off, at which point the youth stabbed him once in the heart.

He managed to walk a short distance away before he collapsed to the floor.

CCTV cameras tracked the youth’s movements through the city centre and the murder weapon was found later.

At that bail hearing, Newcastle Crown Court heard Ireland had 17 convictions for 31 offences between 2017 and 2019, including an incident where he grabbed a knife during a family argument.

There was also an occasion where the threatened a driver with a blade after he was challenged about drinking alcohol on the bus.

At the time of the murder, the boy was on bail for affray.

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Peter Duncan was attacked at the entrance to the Eldon Square shopping centre (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Mr Duncan’s family previously issued a statement in which they said: “Peter was a kind and caring man who was always first to help others.

“He was a devoted father, husband, son, brother, uncle and friend and loved by all who knew him.

“His death will leave such a huge hole in our lives and he’ll be deeply missed by us all.

“Words can’t quite describe what life will be like without him.

“He had so much of his life left to live and he’ll be in our hearts and thoughts every day.”

Ireland will be sentenced in December after psychiatric reports are prepared and is currently in custody.

PA

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