Teen killer jailed for life after stabbing 18-year-old 'peacemaker' to death

6 December 2023, 17:27 | Updated: 6 December 2023, 17:32

Mr Moncrieff was killed after intervening in a disagreement between teenagers in Bath city centre.
Mr Moncrieff was killed after intervening in a disagreement between teenagers in Bath city centre. Picture: Avon and Somerset Police, GoFundMe
Jasmine Moody

By Jasmine Moody

A teenager, who stabbed an 18-year-old to death after an altercation outside a McDonald’s restaurant, has now been detained for life.

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The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was told at court he would serve at least 15 years for murdering 18-year-old Ben Moncrieff.

Mr Moncrieff was killed after intervening in a disagreement between teenagers in Bath city centre.

Beforehand, the young adult had been on a night out with his girlfriend and friends.

Bristol Crown Court heard how Mr Moncrieff stepped into a dispute between the defendant and another boy early in the morning of 6 May.

He was then invited to "come around the corner", where he was stabbed.

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Members of the public and medics came to his aid but Mr Moncrieff succumbed to the fatal chest wound at the scene at about 3:30am.

The defendant, who was under the influence of nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, had brought the knife to the scene in his waistband.

Read more: Driver jailed after inhaling laughing gas and driving van off bridge, killing teenage girl

After stabbing Mr Moncrieff, he fled the scene.

Bristol Crown Court heard how Mr Moncrieff stepped into a dispute between the defendant and another boy early in the morning of 6 May.
Bristol Crown Court heard how Mr Moncrieff stepped into a dispute between the defendant and another boy early in the morning of 6 May. Picture: GoFundMe

Mark Cotter KC, prosecuting, told the court: "The Crown's position is that the defendant entered into an argument with a friend of Mr Moncrieff and Mr Moncrieff entered as a peacemaker."

The defendant, who was 15 at the time of the attack, was convicted of murder following the trial.

He had previously pleaded guilty to possession of a bladed article in a public place.

Jeremy Wainwright KC, defending, said the teenager had been diagnosed with ADHD and had acted "impulsively" and had made "inappropriate decisions.

"He was out and about with at the time with older people who had possibly a negative effect upon him", he said.

"It is very difficult during the course of the trial for expressions of remorse to take place but those who have spoken to him to say there is some level of awareness."

Imposing a life sentence, Judge Peter Blair KC, the Recorder of Bristol, said the teenager would serve a minimum term of 15 years' custody.

"I feel totally destroyed and now have a life sentence without Ben", said his mother.
"I feel totally destroyed and now have a life sentence without Ben", said his mother. Picture: Avon and Somerset Police

"There have been some lovely things said about Ben Moncrieff in the impact statements, which I have read before coming into court and the one read by his mother in court.

"The effect of Ben's wholly unwarranted and untimely death has been completely devastating to the community of people he was a part of in Bath and his memory will live on", the judge said.

"As a consequence, no one is going to remember the child in the dock whose senseless act has robbed them of a life."

The judge added: "Ben Moncrieff intervened to calm it down but you wanted to show off and in an act of stupid childish bravado you didn't want to forget.

"I accept your contact with Ben Moncrieff was minimal, but you took a knife to the scene and it was your actions that led to a penetrating injury to his heart."

Ben's killer was under the influence of laughing gas.
Ben's killer was under the influence of laughing gas. Picture: Avon and Somerset Police

In court, Mr Moncrieff’s mother read a statement about the loss of her son: "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.

"I feel totally destroyed and now have a life sentence without Ben."

Detective Inspector Mark Newbury, who led the investigation, said: "At 18 years old, Ben had his whole life ahead of him, but it was snatched away.

"Tragically, Ben happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He didn't know the defendant and was entirely blameless.

"He was bravely standing up for a friend when the defendant made a conscious decision to pull out a knife and attack Ben knowing it would gravely injure him at the very least.

"We believe the defendant sought to attempt to glorify knife crime by posing in social media videos in the days leading up to Ben's death and also showing off he was carrying one in the minutes before he killed Ben."

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