A 14-year-old boy who stabbed a man to death in Bristol following a dispute over a bike has been convicted of manslaughter.
The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is one of the youngest people ever to be convicted of manslaughter in the Avon and Somerset force area.
The conviction followed a trial at Bristol Crown Court.
Darren Edginton, 39, died from a single stab wound to the chest after being attacked by the 14-year-old in Winkworth Place, at just after 5.30pm on Friday 21 June.
The court heard the teenager and Mr Edginton went to the secluded lane following a dispute in the Grosvenor Road area of St Pauls about a ‘Yo Bike’ which the victim was riding, but that the teenager and his friends felt was theirs.
Det Supt Julie Mackay, head of the Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “This is a tragedy for everyone involved. Primarily it’s a tragedy for those who knew or cared about Darren Edginton; but it’s also a tragedy for the family of the 14-year-old who’s now one of the youngest people in Avon and Somerset to be convicted of manslaughter; and it’s a tragedy for the defendant himself, who’s sacrificed his liberty as a result of engaging in this senseless violence.
“Our investigation focussed on CCTV evidence from around the area which showed part of the dispute involving the victim and the defendant outside the Grosvenor Superstore, before the 14-year-old rode off towards Winkworth Place with the victim following on behind.
“CCTV doesn’t capture the moment of the stabbing but we heard testimony from the victim’s friend who was at the scene. He heard Mr Edginton say he’d been stabbed, shortly before he staggered to nearby Ashley Road and collapsed. He died despite the best efforts of the members of the public and emergency services personnel who tried to save him.
“The defendant was identified as a suspect through CCTV and arrested less than 10 hours later. A small spot of the victim’s blood was found on his trainers and analysis of his phone found he’d been making efforts to purchase knives online. There was no evidence to show any knife was actually purchased online. But we discovered video footage of a hand holding a very similar knife to one of the ones viewed online and were able to prove this was filmed in the defendant’s bedroom.
“In interview, he first claimed it was a case of mistaken identity but due to the weight of evidence against him, including data from his phone which placed him in the lane where the attack happened, he admitted he was the one who stabbed Mr Edginton but claimed it was an accident/self-defence. The jury didn’t believe his version of events and convicted him of manslaughter.
“Our thoughts go out to Darren Edginton’s friends and family and I’d like to thank them and all the witnesses who gave evidence in court for their assistance in this investigation.”
Ch Insp Paul Wigginton, area commander for East Bristol, said the conviction of a 14-year-old boy would concern many people in the local community but he hoped the conviction would act as a warning to others not to carry knives.
“The fact a teenage boy has been found guilty of manslaughter is extremely sad and while he’s got to take responsibility for his own actions, he’s still a child and something has clearly gone wrong for him to be in the position he now finds himself in.
“His anonymity is protected by the courts but we’re aware of a history of vulnerability and criminal exploitation which has resulted in multi-agency safeguarding action being taken on a number of occasions. This doesn’t excuse the horrific crime he’s committed but his background will undoubtedly have been a contributory factor in the choices he made leading up to that day.
“We’ve been clear that serious violence, including knife crime, is not something police enforcement can tackle alone and all agencies need to be working together to address this problem. While it’s important to remember that most people don’t carry a knife, there are still young people in our city who do.
“We’ve been focusing on youth engagement, intervention and diversion and I’m immensely proud of the youth diversionary schemes we have in place across our force area to help steer young people away from violence.
The boy will be sentenced on February 3, 2020.