A 15-year-old boy who boasted about stabbing another teenager to death can be named after a judge ruled it was in the public interest and should act as a deterrent to young people carrying knives.
Leighton Amies shouted “I’ve wetted your boy” at a gang after he knifed Tomasz Oleszak deep in his chest as he walked through a nature park in Gateshead last October.
The defendant had denied murder, claiming he did not know he had stabbed Tomasz and slashed another youth’s coat after being attacked by the group.
During the trial Amies could not be named by the media but Mr Justice Spencer, sitting at Newcastle Crown Court on Monday, lifted the reporting ban.
The judge said: “There is a public interest in trying to deflect young people from the carrying of knives, where when that happens, this kind of utterly tragic outcome can occur.”
Mr Justice Spencer added: “In my judgement, the public interest in reporting fully of these proceedings, including the identity of the defendant, in fact outweighs the interests of the defendant in having the anonymity of his identity maintained.”
But the judge maintained the public had a right to know the full details of the case of a 14-year-old boy who was murdered in a park.
Once the defendant turned 18, the anonymity order would run out, and the judge said his sentence will take Amies beyond that birthday.
During the trial, jurors heard that the killer, then aged 14, was walking through Whitehills Nature Park with his girlfriend at around 8pm when a group of youths followed them.
He was carrying a serrated kitchen knife in his jacket pocket, which he had explained he picked up at home for “reassurance” and used it to slash Tomasz when he came under attack from a group.
Amies shouted to the gang “I’ve wetted your boy” after landing the fatal blow, the court heard.
Mark McKone KC, prosecuting, told jurors: “He wanted them to know he had stabbed one of their number.
“It was a boast.”
Peter Makepeace KC, defending, had told jurors Amies had not looked for trouble and asked the jury to put themselves in his situation: aged 14, attacked by a group, in the dark, not knowing if any of the gang were armed.
He said: “This is a 14-year-old under group attack and having to make terrible decisions under a moment’s notice.”
The jury also convicted Amies of a charge of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm on the boy whose coat was slashed.
The defendant had previously admitted carrying a blade.
The judge praised jurors for their dedication during the trial and acknowledged it had been an emotional experience, and offered to exempt them from jury service for five years.
Outside court, Detective Inspector Chris Deavin, who led the inquiry, said: “Tomasz had his whole life ahead of him, he was a promising footballer and a popular pupil at his school.
“Today, Leighton Amies has been found guilty of murder but no conviction or any length of sentence will ever bring Tomasz back.
“We want to send an unequivocal message to anyone who chooses to carry a weapon of any kind or believes that violence is acceptable – the consequences can be devastating.
“Look at the pain this tragedy has caused – not only could you take away someone else’s future and destroy the lives of their loved ones, but also ruin your own and those of your family and friends.”
Mr Deavin also urged parents to speak to their children about the dangers of carrying a knife, adding: “Most importantly, we implore those who do carry a knife or believe it is a wise, admirable or a necessary thing to do, to think again and stop.”