From the Police: A teenager has been jailed for the murder of 18-year-old Ben Moncrieff in Bath.
The 16-year-old, from south London, stabbed Ben once during the early hours of Saturday 6 May.
Tragically Ben died of his injuries at the scene in the Southgate area of the city, despite the efforts of medics and passers-by trying to help.
The teenage offender – who as a juvenile cannot legally be publicly identified – was found guilty of murder after a trial in October and was remanded ahead of sentencing today (Wednesday 6 December).
He was handed a life sentence with a minimum 15 year term at Bristol Crown Court.
His Honour Judge Peter Blair KC said that given the devastating impact on Ben’s family and friends and the communities of Bath no sentence could be considered long enough.
He stressed that the defendant had gone out with a knife, while Ben’s hands were empty.
Ben’s mother Sharon Hendry read an emotional personal statement to the court.
She said: “Ben filled our home with his friends, laughter, and made our home a happy place, full of life.”
She described seeing him getting ready and going for a rare night out with his girlfriend and then rushing to his side after getting the call that he had been stabbed.
Sharon said: “I did not have the chance to hold Ben and tell him how much I love him. I was too late, I couldn’t comfort Ben. A mum’s worst nightmare.
“Ben’s room stays just as he left it … I go into Ben’s room every day to think of the memories that I have.”
She described seeing Ben in the mortuary and the ongoing physical and mental impact of her loss, adding: “I feel totally destroyed and now have a life sentence without Ben.”
Senior Investigating Officer Mark Newbury said: “Ben was tragically in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was an innocent man trying to defend a friend when he was stabbed and killed.
“The defendant make a conscious decision to take a knife with him that day and attack a defenceless young man. It was a decision that has cost him his freedom, but more importantly one person’s life.
“The murder investigation that followed involved a large amount of police resources from across all directorates and we are pleased to have secured Ben’s loved ones the answers to the questions they so richly deserved.
“The courage his friends and family have shown ever since Ben’s death has been quite incredible and I want to personally thank them for the support they have shown us.
“Today may see the end of the court process, but their grief and pain remains raw. It is clear how loved Ben was and how much he will always be missed by those who knew him.”
Protect yourself and others from knife crime
Knife crime is a high-profile topic, with cases reported online and in the news regularly.
Many of these incidents have involved young people, and you could be forgiven for thinking that carrying a knife is now the norm. Thankfully that is not the case – in reality 99 per cent of young people do not carry knives, and the cases you read about are usually isolated incidents between people who know each other.
However, knife crime is a real concern within many communities and it may be something that affects you directly, or something you are worried about.
Working with young people
We take knife crime extremely seriously and are working with education and intervention organisations across the Avon and Somerset area to highlight the impact it has on communities.
Working alongside young people, we launched our ‘Knife crime: A new way forward’ campaign to help educate people to stay away from knife crime.
As part of this campaign, young people from local schools produced short videos exploring the impact of knife crime:
- Lifeb4Likes – Merchants Academy – this video explores the dangerous world of putting social media popularity before another human’s life.
- Eye for an Eye – Taunton Academy – this video explores how bullying can make a victim want to get revenge. However the philosophy of an eye for an eye only makes the world blind.
- Speak Up – Broadoak Academy – this video explores the guilt suffered by a friend who wanted to tell someone about his friend carrying a knife, but didn’t.
- The Cycle – Bristol Futures Academy – this video explores the retaliatory nature of knife crime and calls for all agencies in Bristol to come together to help break this cycle.
Call 999 straight away if there is an ongoing incident involving a knife or offensive weapon.