Two schoolboys have been found guilty of murdering a 13-year-old who was lured to a park by a Snapchat message before being ambushed and stabbed to death, in a case police said should “horrify us as a society”.
Olly Stephens was attacked and killed by the 14-year-old boys after being persuaded to visit the park in Reading, Berkshire, by a girl of the same age.
She had already pleaded guilty to manslaughter before the trial began, and all three, who cannot be named because of their ages, will be sentenced at a later date.
During the trial the jury heard that both of the boys had "grievances" with Olly, while the girl is said to have described any violence against him as "karma" in a series of shocking social media exchanges.
Following the guilty verdicts at Reading Crown Court, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Howard, from Thames Valley Police, said: “The circumstances of this case are horrific and will no doubt shock and appall people.
"Olly’s completely unnecessary killing, orchestrated and carried out by three other children, should horrify us as a society.”
In a statement, the Stephens family said: “Our boy Olly was born to us at 21.21 on the 1/11/2007, he was taken officially from us at 5.00pm on 3/01/2021.
"He left our home on that fateful afternoon with love and laughter in his heart, with the hope of a bright, fun-filled future ahead of him.
"Within 13 minutes of leaving the safety of his loving home, Olly had left us forever.
"Two minutes was all it took to end him and cause us and our family catastrophic heartbreak."
The statement went on: “Today is a sad day, so many young lives and the lives of their families have been devastated by this callous and cold-hearted act. Knife crime needs to stop. Now.”
After the girl lured Olly to park, the attackers, one of whom was just 13 at the time, left him with stab wounds to the chest and back.
Olly Stephens checks his phone after leaving his home for the final time
The younger boy used a knife to stab him while the older one was fighting with him.
They later disposed of the clothes they were wearing and deleted incriminating social media exchanges.
Jurors were told they had shared several messages on Snapchat in the days leading up to Olly’s death, which demonstrated hostility towards him.
The girl said in one message to one of the defendants: "Karma – he (Olly) deserves all of this."
The older boy also said: "I actually hate the kid with a passion – if I was to see him right now I’d probably end up killing him.”
Asked by a friend if he had killed Olly, the younger boy replied in a message: "It was the biggest mistake of my life."