Murder victim's mother and judge call for action on knife crime after teen jailed for life
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A teenager found guilty of murder after stabbing another teenager to death in Luton has been jailed for life.
A judge today (Friday) sentenced the 17-year-old from Luton, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to serve at least 19 years in prison for his part in the death of Derrick Kinyua.
Judge Michael Simon used the sentencing hearing to call on communities “to do everything possible” to combat knife crime before it ruined any more lives.
Mr Kinyua, 19, suffered several stab wounds following the attack in Luton town centre in April.
Mr Kinyua’s mother today said that the “light of our lives was taken from us” with her son’s death, as she also called on young people to take a stand against knife crime.
Detectives used the sentencing to call on another teenage boy they want to speak to about the attack to turn himself in.
Police believe the 17-year-old suspect fled the country hours after Mr Kinyua was fatally attacked.
On the day of the incident, police received reports from paramedics that a man had been stabbed and was believed to have collapsed at the junction of Hucklesby Way, Hitchin Road and Crescent Road.
The victim, who was later formally identified as Mr Kinyua, was treated by emergency services at the scene and transported to hospital but pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
The police investigation established that Mr Kinyua was confronted outside the address he was staying at in Crescent Road.
CCTV showed the 17-year-old carrying a large knife and lunging at Mr Kinyua, inflicting several stab wounds in the process.
A post-mortem later confirmed that a stab wound to the neck and a stab wound to the chest caused Mr Kinyua’s death.
In a statement issued following sentencing today, his mother said: “On Friday 14 April, the light of our lives was taken from us.
“Senselessly, with no thought for his family, for his friends or for his future, Derrick's life was cut violently short.
“Today, we welcome the sentence that has been passed to those that stole Derrick from us, but we also wrestle with the thought that someone who was complicit in my son's murder remains free to continue their life without repercussion for their actions.
“I speak from a place I never thought I would, as a mother whose son was stabbed to death.
“I urge any young person listening to drop the knife. No good will ever come from carrying a knife. You will ruin someone else's lives while wrecking your own too.
“Knife crime is a truly vile and deplorable issue that is robbing young people of their futures. It's destroying families and communities and it must stop.
“On the 12 May, surrounded by hundreds, we celebrated Derrick's life. Our comfort comes from knowing that Derrick was loved, far beyond the love of his immediate family. We know he touched many lives and in that we know that he will live on.
“We are blessed to have been supported and lifted up by our community and for that we are endlessly grateful.
“To Derrick's friends, many of you were instrumental in honouring his life, even joining us in Kenya to lay him to rest. We thank you and we love you.
“Finally, we thank the Major Crime Unit for their tireless efforts that have brought us what we hope is only the first stage in getting justice for our son, Derrick.”
Last month the 17-year-old was found guilty of murder. Two other men received not guilty verdicts.
Judge Simon at Luton Crown Court today handed the boy a life sentence, to serve a minimum of 19 years.
“The court calls on all those responsible for the care and education of young people, on local communities and on society at large to do everything possible to promote the message of ‘lives not knives’, before yet more families are devastated by the premature and often brutal death of a loved one or the detention for many years in the prime of their lives of a close family member,” said Judge Simon.
He also commended detectives in the case for their hard work, care and attention in the investigation.
Detective Inspector Iain MacPherson, of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, who led the investigation, said: “Today’s sentence is another sad but serious reminder of just how drastically lives can change and be impacted by knife crime.
“The ripple effects of stabbings like these are impossible to measure across all our communities, as we see all too often in these tragic and hugely distressing cases.
“It's not just the victim and perpetrator who have now lost their lives to knife crime. Their families have had their lives changed forever, while I have no doubt their friends and wider communities will be facing trauma as the direct result of such mindless and unnecessary violence.
“Our commitment to investigating and stamping out knife crime remains unwavering and unconditional. Anyone who arms themselves with a knife and uses it in such a callous way will be investigated and held to account for their appalling actions.
“There remains a further person we want to speak to about Mr Kinyua’s death. While we are leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to trace them, I would implore them for the sake of Mr Kinyua’s family to turn themselves in.”