Gang of teenagers jailed for murder

02/07/2014

A gang of five teenagers, some as young as 14, have been jailed for murdering a 19 year old man in a Liverpool launderette.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that the gang said they were after Sean McHugh because he had attacked one of their friends previously.

They had cornered Mr McHugh, of Beckett Street in Liverpool, in a launderette in Priory Road, Anfield, around 7pm on 30 September 2013.

 He took refuge in a locked back room having been chased by the group.

The gang, with their 19 year old leader, Reese O'Shaughnessy, were armed with knives, a sword and a broom handle and forced the back door to the room where he was hiding.

Mr McHugh was beaten and stabbed and the gang ran out, watched by the terrified launderette attendant and a passer-by.

Mr McHugh managed to escape and was found in an alleyway behind the launderette. He had been stabbed in the groin and had lost a lot of blood. He died a few days later in hospital.

Today, 2 July 2014, Reese O Shaughnessy was jailed for life for the murder, and must serve a minimum term of 18 years.

Corey Hewitt,14, must serve a minimum term of 6 years, Joseph McGill, 14, a  minimum term of 9 years, Kyefer Dykstra, 14, a minimum term of 12 years and Andrew Hewitt, 15, a minimum term of 9 years.

A 15 year old boy who was also charged in connection with the offence was found not guilty.

The court heard that the youths were part of a gang known as the "Laneheads" who hung around a cinder path near to Townsend Lane.

They had a stash of weapons, including samurai swords, machetes and knifes, hidden around the cinder path, to deal with rivals.

Mr McHugh's friend, Josh Williams, had also been targeted by the gang on the day but he had managed to get away.

Geoff Fryar, Senior District Crown Prosecutor with the Crown Prosecution Service, Mersey-Cheshire, said: "This was a gang attack on a single, defenceless victim.

"Sean McHugh had simply gone to do his washing at the launderette on Priory Road when he was picked on by these youths.

"Most of the gang were just children at the time but they were prepared to use deadly weapons in what they claimed was a revenge attack for an assault on their friend.

"No one accepted responsibility for stabbing Mr McHugh. They denied acting as a pack and said they simply wanted a straight fight.

"The evidence presented in court by the Crown Prosecution Service proved this was a lie. The gang had gone armed with knives and a sword.

"The sentences handed out today demonstrate the gravity of their actions, no matter how young they were at the time. Our thoughts are with the family of Mr McHugh."