Teen trio convicted of murder

26/02/2013

Three teenagers who battered a man to death behind a supermarket in Liverpool have been convicted of murder at Liverpool Crown Court.

The jury found the boys - two 14 year-olds and the third, who was 16 at the time of the attack - guilty of murder after the five-week trial.

A fourth defendant was found guilty of perverting the course of justice after giving a false statement to the police about the whereabouts of two of the defendants on the night of the murder.

During the trial, the court heard that the victim, Kevin Bennett, 53, had left the Queens Arms pub on Walton Road in the early hours of 17th August 2012.

Also in the area on the night were the defendants, two of them were captured on CCTV at various locations. The third met up with them at around 5.00am. It was around this time that the group encountered Mr Bennett near to Iceland on Walton Road, Walton.

At 5.19am the trio were filmed at a garage on Barlows Lane trying on plastic gloves normally used to dispense petrol and soon after were back at the scene.

One was seen to 'keep watch' while the other two were out of sight. The third did eventually go behind the store.

Only minutes after, all three are seen coming out from the rear of the Iceland store examining their shoes and clothes. This, the prosecution said, was immediately after the attack on Mr Bennett and captures the defendants checking for blood.

At 5.44am, CCTV shows the victim staggering out from behind the supermarket and slumping by a wall. Staff arriving for work at 7.00am found Mr Bennett who was still alive and called an ambulance.

Mr Bennett had suffered massive injuries consistent with multiple blows from a foot or forcible punches. The beating was so severe that it had caused his rib cage to detach from his chest wall.

Mr Bennett died in hospital less than a week later from septicaemia and pneumonia as a result of the injuries he'd sustained.

On the morning after the attack, one of the defendants returned to the scene twice and later that day confided to a friend that 'he had done something'.

The three teens were arrested for murder, but all had denied the charge.

Helen Graves, Senior Crown Prosecutor from CPS Mersey-Cheshire, said: "The prosecution's case was that all three boys were involved in the murder of Mr Bennett.

"They worked as a group to commit a vicious attack on Mr Bennett,causing him terrible injuries which eventually led to his death.

"The jury agreed with this and convicted all three of murder.

"Mr Bennett was stamped on, kicked and punched. He was an innocent man who had simply been out for a drink and had the terrible misfortune to encounter this trio.

"Our thoughts are with Mr Bennett's family and friends who have shown extreme courage and dignity throughout this difficult trial."

All four defendants will be sentenced in April.

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For more information contact Sharon King, Communications Manager, CPS Mersey-Cheshire on 0151 239 6465 or 07717 618804.