LONDON—A judge has warned of a culture among young people of carrying knives, after sentencing five young men for murdering a 17-year-old boy in Northampton, England.
The five were sentenced on June 27 for stabbing 17-year-old Liam Hunt and leaving him to die in a pool of blood in an alleyway on Valentine’s Day last year.
In his sentencing remarks, Judge Rupert Mayo described the attack as “only just short of execution” and “a stain on the town.” Detective Chief Inspector Phil Mills of Northamptonshire Police said in a statement that Hunt had his “whole future ahead of him.”
One of the assailants, Aaron Joseph, 21, used the words “pass me my shank” when he accepted a knife from 18-year-old Kane Allaban-Hamilton. The group was seeking revenge two days after a fight involving Hunt.
“A ghastly language has developed amongst young men and boys who think it is just as acceptable to carry a knife as a mobile phone,” Mayo said.
“The use of the work ‘shank’ may be used to hide the potential damage that a blade can do—it trivializes it in their minds. This is justified by them because they feel under threat from others who may be carrying weapons themselves.”
The judge told Northampton Crown Court, “This case is not about organized crime or drug supply. It is about normal, immature boys who think it is OK to carry and use knives.”
Kane Allaban-Hamilton, 18, was jailed for 14 years for murder, and four others, Lee Warren, 18, William Ransford, 18, Derice Wright, 18, and Joseph were found guilty of manslaughter.
Mayo said the most chilling aspect of the case was how desensitized the killers appeared to be after murdering Hunt: They regrouped at a McDonald’s restaurant, and instead of showing shame and concern, they were pumped up and excited, the judge said.