Two 14-year-old boys have been found guilty of murdering a teenage boy who was “lured” to a park in Reading and fatally stabbed.
Oliver Stephens, 13, known as Olly, was killed at Bugs Bottom field in Emmer Green, in the Berkshire town, on January 3.
Reading Crown Court previously heard that Olly was convinced to go to the park by a 14-year-old girl, where he was then “ambushed” by the two boys and stabbed to death.
The girl and the older of the teenage boys had both previously admitted manslaughter.
None of the three can be named for legal reasons.
The court heard both of the male attackers had “grievances” with Olly, while the girl is said to have described any violence against him as “karma” in the run-up to his death.
In a statement issued through police after his death, Olly’s family described the youngster as “an enigma” who “could get his own way with a wry smile and a cheeky grin”.
They added: “An Olly-sized hole has been left in our hearts.”
And on Monday afternoon, after the jury found the two boys guilty of murder after deliberating for just over 18 hours, the family said: “Today is a sad day, so many young lives and the lives of their families have been devastated by this callous and cold-hearted act. Knife crime needs to stop. Now.”.
The older boy was further found guilty of perverting the course of justice by disposing of the clothes he wore when the incident took place.
The attackers left Olly with stab wounds to the chest and back after a short scuffle at the scene.
The younger boy, who was 13 at the time, used a knife to stab Olly while the older boy was fighting with him, the court previously heard.
The younger boy had admitted perverting the course of justice by disposing of clothing worn at the time of the killing, while the older boy admitted the same offence for deleting information from his mobile phone.
Jurors were told they had shared several messages on Snapchat in the days leading up to Olly’s death, which demonstrated hostility towards him.
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.”
Alison Morgan QC, prosecuting, had said Olly was “unknowingly walking into an ambush”.
There was no sign of any regret and no suggestion he was in any way shockedAlison Morgan, prosecutor
Ms Morgan QC said: “(The girl) lured Olly to the location of the attack, in a place called Bugs Bottom, and she lured him to allow the attack to be carried out by the two defendants.
“The defendants were motivated by perceived grievances with Olly.”
A woman who was at the scene said in a witness statement a number of punches were 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 court heard the boys “encouraged” others to search local news following the incident.
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.”
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.
The trial was held in special circumstances, with counsel removing their wigs and gowns due to the defendants’ ages.
The three teenagers will be sentenced at a later date.