Teenager jailed for fatal stabbing of Leroy James


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The Independent Online

A 15-year-old boy was given a life sentence today for killing a schoolboy whose stabbing was recorded on his own mobile phone.

Leroy James, 14, was knifed in a park by Mustafa Gurpinar, who was also 14 at the time.

Gurpinar had challenged Leroy on Facebook to a fight in a local play area in Ponders End, north London, in August last year.

But he pulled a knife out of his pocket when the larger boy got the better of him, the Old Bailey heard.

Gurpinar was found guilty of murder by a 10-2 majority, and guilty of having a knife as an offensive weapon, last month.

The trial was told that Gurpinar, who called his knife his "pet" or "alligator", had a fascination with knives.

He later talked online about changing his "alligator" for a machete, which he called a "crocodile".

Before the confrontation, Leroy handed his phone to a girl who videoed his death.

The disturbing 12-second clip of the attack was shown to jurors.

It showed how a row between two schoolboys on a sunny afternoon escalated into murder.

Other youngsters egged the two boys on. But as they struggled, Leroy's white T-shirt became stained with his blood as he was stabbed in the heart.

Soon after, youngsters called out to him that he had been "bored", and Leroy suddenly collapsed on to his back.

Duncan Penny, prosecuting, said: "Whilst he remained on his feet for a few more seconds, soon he fell and his lifeblood ebbed away."

Mr Penny told the jury there was bad feeling between the boys, possibly about a girl, and others were egging them on to fight.

"To those who were watching, what was expected to be a fist fight transpired to be anything but," said Mr Penny.

Judge John Bevan ordered that Gurpinar be detained during Her Majesty's Pleasure, serving a minimum 13 years.

He told Gurpinar: "You have an extreme interest in knives. You took the knife to the park.

"You showed a singular lack of restraint. You knew if he was going to fight, you would win."

The judge said Gurpinar had brought devastation to Leroy's family.