UK’s youngest gun killer, 14, convicted of murdering schoolboy, 15, in gang attack

The UK’s youngest ever gun killer, aged 14, has been found guilty of murdering a 15-year-old schoolboy who was stabbed and shot dead near his home.

Keon Lincoln was shot in the stomach while on the ground despite making attempts to escape the 30-second gang attack, but was pronounced dead two hours later at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Jurors convicted the 14-year-old Birmingham youth of murder on Thursday and returned a guilty verdict on the same charge against a youth aged 16, from Walsall, who was caught on CCTV armed with a large knife as Keon was attacked near his home in Linwood Road, Handsworth, in January this year.

Tahjgeem Breakenridge, 18, and Michael Ugochukwu, 18, were also found guilty of murder after 15 hours and 50 minutes of jury deliberations spread over four days.

The 14-year-old was also convicted of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, while the 16-year-old, Breakenridge and Ugochukwu were further convicted of having an offensive weapon.

Jurors have yet to reach a verdict on 18-year-old Kieron Donaldson, who denies murder, and will resume their deliberations on Friday.

The 14-year-old is believed to be the UK’s youngest person to murder someone with a gun.

‘Shocking and disturbing’

A spokesperson for Mothers Against Violence, an organisation which aims to reduce violence in communities, said: “This kind of violence happens far too often. We have a lot of distressed families calling in, mother, talking about young people hiding weapons, knives, machetes. It happens in their neighbourhoods and it distresses them to even go out. The kids will probably say they have weapons to defend themselves, especially if you’re living in a dangerous neighbourhood. Having weapons is never justifiable, but you have to look into their perspective.

“It’s shocking when you’re talking about a young person using a gun. How did he get the gun? Was it an illegal weapon? It’s not very common at all.

“The weak link is the community is scared to speak to police. We sometimes get referrals from mothers in confidence. It’s a vicious circle because people are not willing to expose the person because they’re scared of being harmed. Often the problem has to escalate to such an extent that someone is willing to share information. You’re so scared something might happen to your own family. In many cases, it could be your own neighbour."

Keon Lincoln, 15, was shot in the stomach by the 14-year-old boy – who has been convicted of his murder – during a 30-second gang attack in January this year

Jade Akoum, whose brother was killed aged 17, added: “It’s so shocking and disturbing that young people at such young ages are now using weapons such as guns. My heart goes out to the families that have lost their family members through youth violence. I know only too well how that feels after losing my brother Yousef to knife crime back in 2019. More needs to be done to protect our youth and teach them that violence is not the answer.”

A five-week trial was told Keon suffered eight sharp force injuries and a fatal injury to his abdomen from one of two gunshots fired at about 3.35pm on January 21.

Pre-planned attack

The gunman, who cannot be named because of a court order, told jurors he was not at the murder scene but admitted he had lied to police.

The trial was also told Breakenridge, of Oldfield Road, Balsall Heath; Ugochukwu, of Twyning Road, Edgbaston, and the youth from Walsall were all caught on CCTV armed with long-bladed knives.

Donaldson, of Aston Lane, Perry Barr, is alleged to have “helped and supplied weapons” for the pre-planned attack.

Opening the case for the Crown at the start of the trial, prosecutor Michael Burrows QC said a Ford S-Max, which had been stolen and had a false registration plate, was used by those who attacked Keon.

The vehicle later crashed in Wheeler Street, Birmingham, where forensic evidence including a hunting knife was recovered.

The four defendants convicted of murder were all remanded in custody by trial judge Lord Justice William Davis until a sentencing hearing on November 29.

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