A 13–year-old boy, who is one of the youngest children to plead guilty to murder, has been sentenced to a minimum of 11 years in prison for killing Christopher Barry.
The child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to stabbing Barry, 53, twice in the chest outside his home in Edmonton, north London, on December 14 last year.
Before the incident, the boy had left a 13th birthday party with a group of friends in order to meet another boy on the bus home in time for an 8pm curfew.
As the group attempted to return to the party, they went to enter the wrong block of flats, and subsequently saw Mr Barry - who was known as Jack and was originally from Cobh, Co Cork - and his girlfriend Sabrina Finn outside.
When Mr Barry refused to let the group into the building, there was “pushing and shoving” between the victim and the three boys before the defendant managed to get in.
The boy then followed Mr Barry into the lift, before drawing a kitchen knife from his rucksack and saying to the: “What you saying now? What you saying now?” before stabbing him twice.
Not immediately realising he was hurt, Mr Barry noticed his wounds when he removed his wax jacket inside his flat and saw blood on his shirt, Zoe Johnson QC told the Old Bailey.
Shortly afterwards, he collapsed in a pool of blood, went into cardiac arrest, and died, she added.
Following the stabbing, the defendant texted one friend and said: “Ok, if anyone asks, I wasn't there today”, and told another he was going to prison.
The court heard that the boy had been a member of a gang in Wood Green, north London, since he was 10-years-old and had been excluded from a school after receiving a police warning for carrying a knife on its premises.
Ms Finn said in a victim impact statement that she her “heart is broken” after spending “four happy years” with Mr Barry.
The statement read: “I'm back at work now and although I walk, talk and look the same as I did before, inside I'm tired and my heart is broken.
“Jack and I had four happy years together and this young man has taken that away from me. Jack saved my life last year when I had a serious medical condition which required emergency surgery. I could not do the same for him.”
During mitigation, the boy’s defence barrister, Michael Turner QC, called the case “unique” and said he had never before defended such a young client.
Sentencing the boy, the judge took into account the boy's remorse, revealed in a letter from his mother which was not read out in court, but which detailed a “troubled background as well as positive aspects”.
Judge Kramer refused an application by the press to lift a legal ban on naming the boy, saying there were ”exceptional“ circumstances.
Additional reporting by PAReuse content