Four convicted of birthday party murders of two 17-year-olds

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Two young men and two teenage boys have been convicted of murdering a pair of 17-year-olds in a “ferocious” ambush at a birthday party.

Dom Ansah and Ben Gillham-Rice were stabbed to death at a house in the Emerson Valley area of Milton Keynes on October 19 last year.

Two other people were stabbed and left with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

Charlie Chandler, 22, Clayton Barker, 20, a 17-year-old and a 16-year-old denied both murders and two counts of wounding with intent.

However, jurors at Luton Crown Court convicted the four defendants on Tuesday.

Before the verdicts were delivered, Mr Justice Spencer reminded those in the court to maintain the dignity of the proceedings.

He said: “It is very important that, when the jury returns its verdicts, those are met with silence. There must be no emotional displays.”

The two juvenile defendants, who were in a separate court from the adult defendants, were not seen to react as the verdicts were delivered after more than nine hours of deliberation.

Charlie Chandler
Charlie Chandler was convicted of murder (Thames Valley Police/PA)

Prosecutor Charlotte Newell QC said the group stormed into the rear of the house in Archford Croft shortly after midnight, armed and with their faces covered.

She said: “The male party-goers were targeted and the attack upon them was immediate and ferocious.

“They had little or no time to react and little or no chance of protecting themselves.

“Within seconds of the arrival of the defendants’ group, one young man was dead, two had been sliced with a knife or knives, causing serious, but mercifully not fatal, injuries, and a fourth was running for his life.”

Ben was stabbed six times in the living room of the three-bedroom house, and Dom was subjected to a “frenzied” attack after he ran from the property, the prosecutor said.

Clayton Barker
Clayton Barker had denied the charges (Thames Valley Police/PA)

A post-mortem examination showed Ben had suffered injuries including a 7.9in (20cm) deep wound damaging his heart.

Dom was chased down and “hacked”, jurors were told, suffering 47 injuries and dying in hospital three hours later.

Miss Newell said: “He appeared to have been a particular focus of the defendants’ attention and he did not get away.

“Having run from the house, he circled back into the street pursued by two of the defendants, where he slipped, thereby allowing the attackers to gain ground upon him.

“He was repeatedly sliced and stabbed as he lay on the ground.”

Earl Bevans
Earl Bevans admitted two counts of murder (Thames Valley Police/PA)

Jurors were also shown mock-ups of the Emerson Valley house and how the defendants would have entered the property through the conservatory.

They were later shown map footage of where a knife, said to have been used in the murders, was found in a drain in the Furzton area some distance away after a witness reported two males acting suspiciously.

On top of the animosity between the two gangs, Miss Newell suggested an incident in which the 17-year-old defendant was assaulted, stripped and taunted in woodland at the age of 14 may have been a “catalyst” for the attack.

The teenager later named Dom as one of the perpetrators, the court heard, in an incident that was recorded and widely shared on social media.

Bevans, of no fixed address, Chandler and Barker, both of Bletchley, Milton Keynes, and the two unnamed teenagers will return to Luton Crown Court for sentencing on January 5 and 6.

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