Teenagers guilty of killing youngster Olly Stephens
Two teenagers have been found guilty of killing 13-year-old Olly Stephens after he was lured to a park and fatally stabbed earlier this year. A 14-year-old girl pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to her part in the killing.
When hostilities escalated between Olly and two teenage boys, the latter, along with the 14-year-old-girl, hatched a plan to set him up and attack him. The girl arranged to meet Olly in Bugs Bottom fields in Reading in January, giving the impression she would be there on her own. However, when the unsuspecting teenager arrived, he was ambushed by the two boys, the youngest of whom stabbed him with a knife. All three then fled the scene, leaving Olly to die.
In the hours that followed, the three teenagers tried to cover their tracks, deleting incriminating messages and images from their phones. The boys also disposed of clothing they had worn during the attack, throwing it into undergrowth by a railway line.
Today after a five-week trial, a jury has convicted both boys, aged 14, of murdering Olly Stephens. Ahead of the trial, the 14-year-old girl admitted responsibility for her part in the teenager’s death and pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Charles White for the Crown Prosecution Service said: “Olly was the victim of a violent and senseless attack, which tragically left him with fatal injuries.
“Our case was that the three teenagers had planned the attack together and the two boys, armed with a knife, set out to the park intending to cause Olly serious harm.
“All three disposed of evidence linking them to Olly’s death including shared videos and messages, but their digital footprint proved to be their undoing.
“The evidence retrieved from their phones and social media accounts played a vital part in the case we presented to the jury, which has today found both boys guilty of Olly’s murder.”
In building the case for trial, the Crown Prosecution Service reviewed material containing thousands of messages from conversations the teenagers had on their phones and social media accounts.
Charles explained: “Whilst CCTV footage and statements from over 160 witnesses placed the defendants at the scene, it was the conversations and admissions in the messages that firmly linked the three teenagers with the attack.”
Many of the messages referenced knives, with one video showing the younger boy brandishing a knife at the older boy a week before the attack. In a voice message to Olly’s ex-girlfriend in the days leading up to the attack, the older boy said: “… I actually hate the kid with a passion, like if I was to see him right now I’ll probably end up killing him or something…” He then added: “I’ll just give him bangs or stab him or something.”
Deleted messages were also retrieved in which the defendants admitted their involvement in Olly’s death. After Olly had been killed, the older boy recorded a voice message saying: “Boy it was me and my boy innit. I started slapping him up and then my boy backed out and then **** shanked him.” And later, when a friend asked: “Did you kill olly”, the younger defendant messaged: “It was the biggest mistake of my life.” When asked why he did it, he stated: “Out of pure anger.”
The prosecution’s case was further strengthened by the forensic evidence obtained from the clothing the boys had thrown away which had the DNA of the younger defendant on it as well as blood from the victim.
In addition to being convicted of murder, the older boy was found guilty of perverting the course of justice in relation to the disposal of clothing worn at the time of Olly Stephens’ death and had already pleaded guilty to a further count of perverting the course of justice in relation to the deleting of apps from his mobile phone. The younger boy had previously pleaded guilty to one count of perverting the course of justice in relation to the disposal of clothing worn at the time of Olly Stephens’ death.
Notes to editors
- A 14-year-old boy (DOB 25 February 2007) was convicted of murder. He had previously pleaded guilty to one count of perverting the course of justice in relation to the disposal of clothing worn at the time of Olly Stephens’ death.
- A 14-year-old boy (DOB 3 October 2006) was convicted of murder. He was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice in relation to the disposal of clothing worn at the time of Olly Stephens’ death. He had previously pleaded guilty to one count of perverting the course of justice in relation to the deleting of apps from his mobile phone.
- A 14-year-old girl (DOB 29 January 2007) pleaded guilty to manslaughter and one count of perverting the course of justice in relation to the deletion of data from her mobile phone at an earlier hearing.
- The three teenagers will be sentenced at Reading Crown Court in September.
- Charles White is a Senior Crown Prosecutor in the Complex Casework Unit, CPS Thames and Chiltern.
- Our Complex Casework Unit deals with the most complex cases in our area. The team of experienced specialist lawyers, paralegal officers and operational delivery staff work in collaboration with our three police forces to tackle serious, organised and cross-border crime across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire.