A 15-year-old boy has been detained at His Majesty’s pleasure for murdering a shopper after a row in a Redditch supermarket toilet, having travelled to the Worcestershire town planning to rob and deal drugs.
The youngster was convicted of the killing following a trial last month, where a jury heard how 53-year-old Ian Kirwan was knifed in the heart by the boy – then aged 14 – acting as a part of a masked gang which “terrorised” members of the public.
The youth was ordered detained for a minimum of 14 years.
Mr Kirwan, described by his wife as a “wonderful person” with “the biggest heart”, had only popped to B&Q to buy a light switch before going to Asda to use a toilet.
The killer, from Birmingham, who cannot be named for legal reasons, travelled with other boys by train to the town on March 8 last year, where Mr Kirwan was subjected to a minute-long attack near the entrance of an Asda store.
Jurors cleared the three other youths – now aged 14, 15 and 16 – of murder and manslaughter but found them guilty of violent disorder. The older boy had also previously admitted having the 12-inch kitchen knife used for the fatal attack.
They were each handed youth rehabilitation orders.
Sentencing the killer at Birmingham Crown Court on Wednesday, Mr Justice Fraser, told him: “Mr Kirwan’s murder is a tragedy and so utterly senseless it defies description.
“It is also a stark reminder if society were to need one of the danger of young people carrying knives with them as a matter of routine.”
A 10-week trial was told Mr Kirwan, an artificial intelligence engineer who worked at Jaguar Land Rover’s Coventry headquarters, was an “unfortunate member of the public in the wrong place at the wrong time”.
In a victim personal statement read to court on Wednesday, Mr Kirwan’s wife Lyndsey Blythe said: “Ian was my rock, my soulmate, my husband.
“Ian didn’t deserve to die.”