Two 14-year-old boys killed man 'for the fun of it'

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TWO 14-YEAR-OLD boys who murdered a man for the thrill of the experience and then boasted about it to friends at school were yesterday sentenced to be detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure.

Terence Lambert and Sergio Pantano stamped 26-year-old Mohammed Aslam to death after pretending to befriend him at a park. At one stage they had to break off the attack because they were laughing so much.

Sentencing the pair at Luton Crown Court, Judge Daniel Rodwell QC said: "What you two did was pure unmitigated evil... What we have heard in this court over the last few days has been a chilling catalogue of gratuitous violence which gives every indication that it was carried out for the fun of it.

"It is perfectly clear to me that you two lured this man into the willows with the intention of finding some pretext to assault him, and then proceeded to amuse yourselves by carrying out a prolonged and vicious assault. He was a totally innocent victim of violence for the fun of it."

The judge lifted a court order that had prohibited the pair being identified. The two, now 15, lived doors apart in Bedford.

The court heard that the boys found Mr Aslam sitting on a park bench, visibly drunk, next to the River Ouse at about 7.30pm. They lured him to a willow copse beneath a tree house, knocked him to the ground with a wooden stake and stamped repeatedly on his face.Pantano and Lambert then fetched a wooden pallet and a flat piece of wood, put them on his head and continued stamping.

They went on to use the pallet as a platform for wrestling moves copied from television before running off, leaving Mr Aslam, coughing blood, to die. Lambert told friends Pantano had had to stop stamping at one point because he was doubled up with laughter and also had difficulty running away as he was laughing so hard.

Both boys boasted about the attack to friends the next day. Pantano told one: "You should have been with me last night - we had a mad day." He described stamping on Mr Aslam as "like kicking a football". Lambert also talked of a "mad day" and said simply: "We murdered a man."

One pupil, called as a witness, told the court he had at first not believed the stories, but changed his mind after hearing the sheer detail of Lambert's account. Lambert returned to the scene with friends three days after the attack and pointed out the piece of wood with which he had struck Mr Aslam.

Lambert was arrested on 26 April after one of the friends contacted police. Pantano was arrested after Lambert described the attack to police.

The court heard the two were members of a gang involved in a series of attacks in Bedford. Pantano, the leader, said he committed violent acts to gain "extra respect" from his peers. Lambert was described as the most violent member of the gang. On one occasion he fractured a teenage boy's skull by stamping on him.

Because of their youth, the two defendants were allowed to sit at the back of the court with their families. An Italian translation was provided for Pantano's family.

Pantano was also sentenced to two-and-a-half years' detention after admitting taking part in a street robbery. Lambert was sentenced for two other offences of violence; four years' detention for grievous bodily harm for the attack on the teenage boy, and 18 months, to run concurrently, for assault occasioning actual bodily harm for an attack on another boy.