Two 14-year-old boys have been found guilty of murdering a teen who was “lured” to a park and fatally stabbed.
Oliver Stephens, 13, was pronounced dead at Bugs Bottom field in Emmer Green, Reading, on 3 January.
Oliver, known as Olly, was persuaded to go to the park by a 14-year-old girl, where he was “ambushed” by the two boys, Reading Crown Court previously heard.
The court heard the boys had “grievances” with Olly and the girl is said to have described violence against him as “karma”.
The trio had messaged on Snapchat in the days before the stabbing, and the older boy had written: “I actually hate the kid with a passion – if I was to see him right now I’d probably end up killing him.”
Prosecutor Alison Morgan QC had said that Olly was “unknowingly walking into an ambush” and had been “lured” by the girl, who remained at the scene during the attack.
A witness said a number of punches had been thrown before the younger boy – who was 13 at the time – had stabbed Olly in the chest and back.
Ms Morgan said 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 also heard the boy had “encouraged” others to look for news stories about the incident, with the older boy messaging a friend, saying: “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 had told a female friend in a message: “It was the biggest mistake of my life”, saying he had carried out the attack “out of pure anger”.
When questioned in court, the younger boy said he had taken a knife to the park because the older boy had told him to, and he had expected Olly to have a weapon.
The younger boy said that, during the fight, Olly had reached towards his waistband and he had assumed a knife would be pulled out.
The younger boy had used his knife because he thought the older boy, who was still fighting with Olly, was “going to get stabbed”.
But the older boy said he was not aware his younger friend had a knife and was shocked by the stabbing.
The jury deliberated for just over 18 hours before returning guilty verdicts to the murder charges.
The older boy and the girl had already admitted manslaughter.
The younger boy had also admitted perverting the course of justice by disposing of clothing worn during the murder, while the older boy admitted the same offence for deleting mobile phone applications.
None of the three can be publicly identified because of their age and they will be sentenced at a later date.
Olly’s family said after the verdict: “He left our home on that fateful afternoon with love and laughter in his heart, with the hope of a bright fun filled future ahead of him.
“Within 13 minutes of leaving the safety of his loving home Olly had left us forever.
“Two minutes was all it took to end him and cause us and our family catastrophic heartbreak.
“When I reached where Olly fell, I gently held his hand, willing him to respond, with the same love and devotion as I had on the day we met, the day he was born.
“Olly was our boy. We raised him to the best of our ability. He was a huge character in and around our home, with his friends and at school.
“He made people laugh, he could dance with the best of them, and he gave his love freely. His sense of humour and his wicked comic timing had us and his friends in stitches many a time.
“He was warm, kind, soulful, a deep thinker and a great carer to those around him. He was loyal and trusted people to a fault. He would never back down from a fight; he would defend those that couldn’t or wouldn’t defend themselves.
“I pressed on him the importance of running from a fight, to get clear and take stock of events later, we would deal with the fallout together. He did not see it my way. It cost him his life.
“The memories and stories we have of Olly’s short life have now become priceless treasures locked away in our hearts and minds forever.”