Teenage boy who stabbed 16-year-old Bailey Gwynne to death in school fight over biscuits after lying about his age to buy a knife on Amazon is jailed for nine years
- Bailey Gwynne, 16, was stabbed at Cults Academy in Aberdeen last year
- A 16-year-old schoolboy was convicted of culpable homicide a month ago
- He was also found guilty of having a knife and knuckledusters at school
- The youth had admitted stabbing Bailey but denied he’d committed murder
- Bailey suffered major loss of blood after single stab wound to the heart
- A fight broke out after Bailey had refused to give his attacker a biscuit
- Boy bought knife online to conceal his age and hid purchase from mother
A teenager has been locked up for nine years for stabbing a school pupil to death during a ‘trivial’ row.
Bailey Gwynne, 16, died from a knife wound to the chest at Cults Academy in Aberdeen on October 28 last year.
A 16-year-old youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was convicted of culpable homicide last month after a jury at the High Court in Aberdeen ruled against a charge of murder following a five-day trial.
He was also found guilty of two other charges of having a knife and knuckledusters at the school.
At the High Court in Edinburgh on Friday, judge Lady Stacey ordered the killer to be detained for nine years.
She also ordered the boy to be supervised for two years following his release from custody.
Passing sentence, Lady Stacey told the teenager: ‘If you had not carried a knife, the exchange of insults between you and Bailey Gwynne would have led at worst to a fist fight, and certainly not loss of life.’
The judge also told him: ‘Nothing that I can say nor any sentence that I impose will do anything to lessen the grief that Bailey Gwynne’s family and friends feel.
‘The shock of the death at such a young age was felt in the wider community; nothing I can say or do can alleviate that.’
The judge’s sentence means the killer will serve nine years in custody – eight for culpable homicide and one for carrying weapons. He will then be supervised for a further two years on release.
The youth admitted fatally stabbing Bailey but had denied murder.
A jury at the High Court in Aberdeen took less than two hours to convict him of the lesser charge of culpable homicide last month.
Kate Gwynne, mother of murdered Aberdeen school boy Bailey Gwynne, and her partner John Henderson leave Edinburgh High Court after the sentencing of her son’s killer
Before sentencing, the judge heard the youth realised the impact of what he had done and was being treated for symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder including nightmares, anxiety and depression.
Mr Duguid told the judge that his client was ;immature; and that he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and received medication for depression and nightmares.
‘He genuinely is affected by these events in quite a profound way,’ added Mr Duguid. ‘He recognises that he has taken someone’s life and he feels very profoundly sorry about that.’
Mr Duguid said the ‘naive’ youth who thought it would make him look cool to carry a knife would have to live with the ‘flawed’ decision for the rest of his life.
‘THE TERRIBLE COURSE OF EVENTS THAT LED TO BAILEY LOSING HIS LIFE’: LADY STACEY’S SENTENCING COMMENTS TO BAILEY’S KILLER IN FULL
‘Nothing that I can say, nor any sentence I may impose, will do anything to lessen the grief that Bailey Gwynne’s family and his friends feel.
‘The shock of his death at such a young age was felt in the wider community and nothing I say will alleviate that.
‘You were convicted by the jury of carrying a knife and carrying knuckle dusters in school, and of culpable homicide of Bailey Gwynne. I have to sentence you in respect of these crimes.
‘I accept, as submitted on your behalf, that you have no previous convictions nor is there any record of violence.
‘I have also borne in mind your age and immaturity. Because you are 16 years of age I have to take account, as one of the primary considerations in deciding on sentence, your welfare and the desirability of you being reintegrated into society.
‘I also have considered the need for punishment and deterrence of others. The safety of the public is a further primary consideration.
‘Taking all of the circumstances into account, I have come to the conclusion that the only suitable disposal is a period of custody.
‘You chose to buy the weapons online so that you would not be asked for proof of age and you arranged to have them delivered in such a way that your mother would not know about them.
‘You took them to school on several occasions. I wish to make clear to you and anyone else who is ever tempted to carry a knife that the courts will regard that as a very serious matter.
‘It is obvious that buying the knife and taking it to school is what started the terrible course of events that led to Bailey losing his life.
‘If you had not carried a knife, the exchange of insults between you and Bailey would have led at the worst to a fist fight in which there would probably have been no serious injury and almost certainly no loss of life.’
He said: ‘This case has tragedy written right over it.
‘Going forward, there’s a very limited future for him – following his release from prison, he will return to the area where this crime was committed as his family and support network are there.
‘He himself recognises that there won’t be too many employers who would be willing to give somebody who has taken a person’s life a job.’
During evidence, it emerged that Bailey – a hard-working fifth year pupil with four young brothers – suffered a major loss of blood after receiving the single stab wound to the heart.
The court heard that on the day he was stabbed, Bailey had missed out on a lunchtime trip to the local supermarket as his friends forgot to tell him about the plan.
Over the course of the five-day trial in March it was said that Bailey had refused to give his attacker a biscuit, saying ‘you don’t want to get any fatter’.
The teenager responded with a joke about Bailey’s mother, before the pair started grappling.
The attacker then pulled a knife that he had bought from Amazon out of his pocket and stabbed Bailey to death.
Accounts of the fight differed between witnesses but the jury heard that Bailey, who was on his way out of the corridor, turned round and squared up to the youth after he made a comment about his mother.
They both were said to have thrown punches and two onlookers said Bailey had him in a headlock before he pulled out a knife.
MAKING OF A SCHOOLBOY KILLER: THE PLUMP AND UNASSUMING TEENAGER WHO THOUGHT BLADES AND KNUCKLEDUSTERS MADE HIM COOL
By Jonathan Brocklebank for the Daily Mail
In the photograph police took after bringing the boy into custody, he could be taken for as young as 12 or 13. His white shirt hung loose over his plump torso, his black, shapeless trousers were too long for him and his hair was a boyish mop.
In his eyes, there was a look of abject terror. If there were intimidating teenagers at schools, then this 16-year-old certainly did not look like one of them.
On the contrary, the overweight, underachieving youngster had, on occasion, himself felt intimidated by his peers. He had not done PE for a month because he feared being mocked for his ‘breasts’ when he undressed. He palled around with another plump boy as if for mutual support.
Yet the quiet, unassuming youngster who appeared to scare nobody was responsible for one of the most horrifying crimes ever perpetrated in Scotland by one school pupil on another. And his violent, unpredictable behaviour had caused concern for years.
As long ago as 2007, the then seven-year-old had attacked another primary school pupil with rocks in a lane. The victim was taken to hospital and his alarmed parents contacted police and the school. Chillingly, they predicted their son’s attacker would one day commit an even more violent crime. The events of October 28 last year proved them right.
The simplest explanation for his behaviour is the boy thought knives were ‘cool’. In his police interview, the killer himself said: ‘I never fitted in. I was just trying to act cool and confident and tough, but I wasn’t. I had them just to act tough.’
The knives and the knuckledusters, it seemed, were childish props to compensate for the youngster’s sense of inadequacy – a way for a shy child who was self-conscious about his weight to feel better about himself.
A post-mortem examination revealed he died as a result of a ‘penetrating stab-force injury to the chest’ which went directly into the heart.
The killer told police as he was handcuffed ‘it was just a moment of anger’.
He later told officers: ‘I didn’t mean to but I stabbed him.’
On the evening of his death, a candlelit vigil was attended by hundreds from a community shocked to its core by what had happened in the corridor of one of Scotland’s top state schools.
One message dedicated to the teenager who had often talked of becoming a Marine said, simply: ‘Soldier on, soldier.’
In his speech to the jury, prosecutor Alex Prentice QC described the row as a ‘silly, trivial fight between two school boys’, but added: ‘Bailey Gwynne had no chance.’
Defence QC Ian Duguid said the case centred around an incident which happened ‘in the blink of an eye’ within 30 seconds.
The court heard the youth has no record of violent offending and the judge said she had taken this into account, along with his young age, when deciding his sentence.
But Lady Stacey said a social work report had deemed him a risk to others and she agreed.
She told him: ‘You have shown that you were prepared to buy and receive a weapon, and then use it.
‘You chose to buy weapons online so that you would not be asked for proof of age and you arranged to have them delivered in such a way so your mother would not know about them.’
The killer said he circumvented Amazon’s over-18 rules simply by getting the 3½in knife delivered to his mother’s garden shed. No one had to sign for it.
KATE GWYNNE’S TRIBUTE TO HER SON BAILEY
‘It has always been a true blessing and a privilege to have Bailey, and to share the honour of knowing, raising and loving him.
‘That is not something that time or our parting will ever change.’
‘Our sweet boy with a big dream working hard to make it happen.
‘A boy who was never happier than when chilling out with his friends and his dog after a session in the gym.
‘The boy who would carry his brothers to the top on a hill walk when their own legs failed them, who dutifully cut the grass for his dad or rescued his nonna’s shopping and the boy who would come with me on an evening run just to keep me company in the dark even though he could finish it in half the time.
‘Bailey-Bazza, my true gent. With love we hold you in our hearts.
‘Walk tall Bailey-Boy.’
The trial had heard that a laptop used by the killer had revealed an Internet search for ‘how to get rid of someone annoying’.
However, Police Scotland Computer expert Charles Bruce said that he didn’t know what results the search brought up.
The boy also used the search expressions ‘Aberdeen stabbings’ and ‘difference between a homicide and a murder’.
Another teenage witness also told the court that he had seen the killer with a knife ‘maybe 25 times’ before the fatal stabbing.
The accused admitted that he regularly carried it with him.
He also told detectives that he had brought knuckle dusters for £10 and the knife for £40 from Amazon.
When officers told him he was to be charged with the murder of Bailey, he broke down.
He told cops: ‘But I tried to save him.’
Aberdeen City Council is to hold a review into Bailey’s death to identify any lessons that can be learned from the fatal stabbing during what was described as a ‘trivial’ row.
Following the trial, Ms Gwynne thanked all those who provided support to the family, praising the efforts of police, family liaison officers and fiscal staff involved in the prosecution.
She said: ‘We have appreciated greatly the support of all those around us and those close to us, whether it has been practical or emotional.
‘We know that everyone around us has done their utmost for Bailey and we appreciate and greatly admire the fairness and integrity shown to all parties by the prosecuting counsel.
‘We cannot praise highly enough the police, our lovely family liaison officers and the fiscal staff.’
Detective Superintendent David McLaren paid tribute to the family who attended the trial every day and sat through the most searing of evidence.
He said: ‘Today won’t bring their son back, the pain of not having Bailey around will last for a very long time. Throughout their ordeal they have conducted themselves with the utmost dignity and are a credit to themselves as a family.
‘The death of Bailey Gwynne has had a massive impact on his family, friends, fellow pupils and the staff at Cults Academy.
‘The details of the case have caused shock within the local community and further afield across the whole of the country.’
Cults Academy, located in an affluent suburb of Aberdeen, is a six-year comprehensive school with about 1,050 pupils.
Former pupils include ex-Scotland rugby union captain Jason White, Sir Alex Ferguson’s football manager son Darren, Olympic swimmer Robbie Renwick and Scotland footballer Shaun Maloney.
- Bailey Gwynne case: Schoolboy killer jailed for nine years BBC News
- Killer of schoolboy Bailey Gwynne jailed for nine years Telegraph
- Bailey Gwynne: Schoolboy stabbed after ‘biscuit row’ BBC