Schoolboy, 14, 'stabbed IT worker to death' in mass supermarket brawl

10 November 2022, 10:12

Ian Kirwan was allegedly stabbed to death by a gang of youths
Ian Kirwan was allegedly stabbed to death by a gang of youths. Picture: West Mercia Police

By Kit Heren

A 14-year-old schoolboy has appeared in court alongside his friends, charged with stabbing an IT worker to death in a supermarket.

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All five boys, aged between 13 and 15, are accused of acting together in the murder of Ian Kirwan, 53, in a Worcestershire Asda on March 8 this year.

A 13-year-old kicked Mr Kirwan before he was stabbed in the heart, the court heard. He died before reaching hospital.

The scuffle came about after Mr Kirwan, a software engineer, went to the Redditch shop toilets and saw the boys messing about and challenged them on their behaviour.

Ian Kirwan
Ian Kirwan. Picture: West Mercia Police

Opening the prosecution's case, Benjamin Aina KC told the court: "Ian Kirwan left his home in Redditch with the intention of going to B&Q to buy a light switch.

"At about 7.15 in the evening, Mr Kirwan went into Asda and entered the customer toilets. When he did so, he came into contact with a group of five young males who were messing about.

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"A little later he left the toilets. He left the Asda store and some of the boys were outside and he challenged them. 'Why were you messing about in the toilets' - words to that effect.

"A scuffle broke out and, during that scuffle, Ian Kirwan was stabbed once to his heart with a knife and he died before getting to hospital. He was only 53 years old.

"There is no dispute in this case that the person who stabbed Ian Kirwan was [the 14-year-old].

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"However, the prosecution's case is that at the time Ian Kirwan was stabbed with the knife, the five boys were acting together as a group - intentionally assisting and encouraging [the boy who stabbed Mr Kirwan] and that they intended that Mr Kirwan should be caused at least really serious harm with the knife that was used.

"Therefore, the prosecution say, in law all five boys are jointly responsible for Mr Kirwan's death."

All five boys, who cannot be named because of their age, deny murdering Mr Kirwan, as well as the lesser charge of manslaughter and violent disorder.

The court heard how they came from Birmingham to Redditch as part of a larger group that afternoon. They behaved rowdily on the journey, throwing rubbish and causing other train passengers to move away from them.

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One boy, 15, allegedly took out a knife in front of other people on the journey. He gave the weapon to the boy who stabbed Mr Kirwan and admitted possession of a knife - but denied responsibility for the death.

The boy who stabbed Mr Kirwan denies murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility, arguing that he was suffering from a mental disorder that influenced his judgement at the time of the killing.

Mr Aina said: "The prosecution accept that he suffered from the mental health disorders that I have mentioned.

"What the prosecution say is that what was operating on [the youth's] mind at the time of the killing was a behaviour disorder.

"And a behaviour disorder is not a mental health disorder."

The trial continues.

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