Schoolboy, 15, guilty of killing teenage dad-to-be

Victim: Joey Smith.
Victim: Joey Smith.

A SCHOOLBOY has been convicted of killing a young dad by stabbing him through the heart in a street fight - but was cleared of murdering his teenage victim.

The 15-year-old stashed a knife in his lunchbox and told a friend he was going to deal ‘a couple of stabs’ to someone who was ‘picking on him’, before later using a different blade to fatally wound Joseph Smith, aged 18.

Sheffield Crown Court heard Joseph, nicknamed Joey, met a ‘speedy death’ when he was knifed at the crossroads of Locarno Road and Barnsley Road in Moorends, Doncaster.

Joseph, of Orchard Lane, Moorends, had a young daughter with his partner Hayley Webster, who was also pregnant with the couple’s second child at the time of the killing in March.

In a statement following the verdict, the victim’s parents Betsy and Charles Smith said their son lost the chance to watch his children grow up, adding: “We have to live with this grief for the rest of our lives.”

The jury of seven women and five men took just over four-and-a-half hours to unanimously acquit the schoolboy of murder.

The killer, who is now 16 and cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted manslaughter but denied murder.

He said he wielded the knife only to scare Joseph, and stabbed his victim accidentally when he lunged at him during the brawl.

Judge Alan Goldsack QC said the schoolboy, who was flanked in the dock by three grown-ups, now faces sentence over the manslaughter charge.

“Given his age, I obviously need a pre-sentence report before that is done,” said the judge, who remanded the youth in custody until a date to be fixed.

Judge Goldsack also thanked the jury and said they had a ‘particularly serious case to try’.