Teen killers of Khayri McLean, 15, jailed for life, as police baffled by 'unbelievable' motive for the murder

18 May 2023, 19:00

Jakele Pusey and Jovani Harriott have been given life in prison for murdering Khayri McLean
Jakele Pusey and Jovani Harriott have been given life in prison for murdering Khayri McLean. Picture: West Yorkshire Police

By Kit Heren

Two boys who stabbed a teenager to death in Huddersfield last year have been given life in prison for his murder.

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Jakele Pusey, 15, and Jovani Harriott, 17, were found guilty on Thursday of murdering Khayri, who was stabbed while making his way home from North Huddersfield Trust School on September 21, 2022.

The two killers were named publicly despite being under the age of 18, with the judge taking the rare step of lifting reporting restrictions to help discourage knife crime.

Pusey, who pleaded guilty to murder, was sentenced to to life with a minimum 16 years in jail.

Harriott, who was found guilty following a trial at Leeds Crown Court, was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 18 years behind bars.

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Jakele Pusey
Jakele Pusey. Picture: West Yorkshire Police

The only motive police could find for the killing was an argument about a broken window. Officers said it was "beyond belief" that a low-level dispute between Khayri and his killers had ended in murder.

On the day of his death, Khayri was met by the two murderers who were waiting for him as he left school with his friends.

Read more: Teenager found guilty of murdering Khayri McLean, 15, outside Huddersfield school

Read more: Teen stabbed to death outside school in 'targeted attack' because 'he joined a gang and left'

Pusey and Harriott charged towards him aggressively and Pusey stabbed Khayri in the chest with what proved to be a fatal blow, as it went through his ribs and penetrated one of his lungs and heart.

Khayri fell to the floor and was "defenceless on his back" when Harriott, who denied murder, went after him, knife in hand, and stabbed him in his lower leg.

Police arrested Harriott only a few hours after the murder after finding a mobile phone used to plan the attack at the crime scene.

The phone had messages that linked Pusey to the murder. He handed himself in shortly afterwards.

Jovani Harriott
Jovani Harriott. Picture: West Yorkshire Police

Prosecutors had said earlier that although Harriott did not inflict the fatal blow, he was guilty of murder because the pair acted together and were "encouraging and supporting each other to carry out that attack".

Charlie Mclean, Khayri’s mother, said that her life "changed forever" with the death of her son.  

"The cowards responsible for my son’s murder took the life of a son, brother and friend who had his whole life ahead of him and was looking forward to a bright future," she said in a statement.

"He was a loving and caring person who loved Manchester United and rugby, was happy in a relationship and had plans to study engineering as he grew older.

"All that was taken by the two boys who attacked him so brutally. Khayri had no chance to run or defend himself and was left helpless.  

Khayri McLean
Khayri McLean. Picture: West Yorkshire Police

"Quite soon after the attack I was told Khayri had been injured so I went to where he was. I had to watch helplessly as paramedics attempted to save his life. No parent should have to contemplate this, let alone witness it. I want to thank West Yorkshire Police for their support for us as a family during this unimaginable time and for the quick arrest of those responsible.  

"I also want to pay tribute to the school children and teachers who waited with Khayri and tried to help him.“I ask myself what has this achieved? What has my son died for? Nobody has won in this situation. I’ve lost a child and other parents have lost two sons who have committed this offence. This violence has to stop, carrying weapons has to stop."

Chief superintendent Jim Griffiths, district commander of Kirklees Police, said that Khayri's murder was a "tragedy" for his family and friends - and a "dreadful event" for locals.

"Knife crime has rightly been a major topic of debate in Kirklees and the wider country and we really do understand why, particularly given cases as dreadful as this," he added.

A pupil views floral tributes at the scene in Woodhouse Hill, Huddersfield, where 15-year-old schoolboy Khayri McLean was fatally stabbed outside his school gates. Picture date: Friday September 23, 2022.
A pupil views floral tributes at the scene in Woodhouse Hill, Huddersfield, where 15-year-old schoolboy Khayri McLean was fatally stabbed outside his school gates. Picture date: Friday September 23, 2022. Picture: Alamy

"I can promise residents that when these awful offences occur, they are not going undetected or unpunished.  Our officers regularly make swift making arrests and put people before the courts, as was the case here.

"I also want to reassure residents that there remains a huge amount of work ongoing in Kirklees by police and partners at all levels to reduce knife offending and that work is having an impact.

"Clearly educating young people about the dangers of knife crime remains key, and we have invested heavily in a whole range of work to reduce knife crime in Huddersfield and wider Kirklees including enforcement and education with young people.

"There remains a long way to go but we are absolutely committed to seeing this work done, and changing attitudes about carrying knives in the long term.”

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