Boy, 15, not guilty of murdering carjacker

  • Published
James LaurieImage source, Family handout
Image caption,
James Laurie died in hospital from a stab wound to the chest

A boy has been cleared of murdering a teenager who was staging a "vicious" carjacking attempt against him.

The 15-year-old was also found not guilty of the manslaughter of James Laurie, 17, who was fatally stabbed in the chest in Southampton, in January.

Winchester Crown Court was told he had acted in self-defence against carjacker Mr Laurie.

The defendant, who cannot be named, of Andover, Hampshire, earlier admitted possessing a knife in a public place.

The court heard Mr Laurie was stabbed in Lindsay Road, at about 06:00 GMT on 19 January.

James Newton-Price QC, defending, said three young males, including Mr Laurie, were on an overnight "spree of taking drugs and offending" when they targeted a car in which the defendant was a passenger.

Image caption,
Mr Laurie was stabbed during a confrontation in Lindsay Road

The teenage driver of the targeted car, who knew Mr Laurie, said he behaved like a "psychopath" and put his hands around her neck, Mr Newton-Price said.

The defendant, got out of the car and pulled out the sheath knife, the jury was told.

"His intention was not to stab but to fend off, deter, if he could," the barrister added.

Mr Newton-Price said the fatal wound, penetrating to a depth of 5cm (two inches), could have been influenced by the "jittery" movements of Mr Laurie, who had taken an "exceptionally high" amount of the drug MDMA.

Mr Laurie was found by paramedics at a nearby address and died later in hospital.

'Miss your cheeky smile'

Following the stabbing, police arrested four people and seized weapons after being granted extra stop and search powers in the area.

Hampshire Constabulary said it had been concerned about a potential outbreak of violence between two groups.

Previously the family of Mr Laurie, from Montague Avenue, said: "We will miss you and your cheeky smile forever. You were full of life."

Speaking after the verdicts Det Insp Lee McClellan said the force "respects the jury's decision".

"This was a tragic incident that led to the loss of a young life.

"This case highlights the dangers that come with carrying knives and the devastation these senseless acts cause, not only to those involved but also to their friends and families."

A Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) spokesman said prosecutors had "worked incredibly hard to put evidence before a jury".

The defendant will be sentenced at a later date for the knife offence he admitted.

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