Armed teens filmed terrorising boy over friend's knife death
26 July 2019, 15:17 | Updated: 26 July 2019, 22:11
Armed teenagers have been filmed terrorising a boy who was due to give evidence at a trial into the fatal stabbing of his friend.
Twelve young people gathered outside the home of their target, all of them with their hoods up and some with their faces covered, with two wielding hammers and one a knife sharpener as they shouted towards the property.
Sky News exclusively obtained the video from a resident of Belle Vale in southeast Liverpool, who captured the incident on their mobile phone on 22 October last year.
The boy they were intimidating was due to testify at the murder trial of Daniel Gee-Jamieson, 16, who was killed in Belle Vale in a so-called "straightener" - a Scouse term for a fight between two people to settle their differences.
Four of the youths, aged 16 to 17, were this week found guilty of witness intimidation and affray, with two found guilty of possession of a weapon and another pleading guilty to that charge.
They were on trial at Liverpool Youth Court and will be sentenced in August.
The verdicts were announced on the same day the new prime minister launched his first major domestic policy: to add 20,000 more police officers to the streets in three years, create a national police board, and increase stop and search powers.
Speaking about his policing drive, Boris Johnson said: "I believe very strongly in keeping police numbers high... and the reason for that is, you do need to see officers out on the street. I think the public needs that confidence that comes with seeing a safer neighbourhood team, a police officer out on the street."
David Jamieson, West Midlands police and crime commissioner, told Sky News: "What he should look at is building up the resource on the streets, putting in the number of officers we need in some of the trouble spots we've got."
Daniel was stabbed in the thigh by Owen Cousins, 17, last July - just a few minutes' walk from his front door.
His mother, Mandy Jamieson, managed to reach him just moments before he died and told Sky News she still recalls the moment every night.
"The colour in his face just drained, all his mouth was white," she said.
"I held his hand and it felt cold and clammy and he said to me: 'Mum, I just want to go to sleep.' I said: 'Don't go to sleep, please don't go to sleep.'"
Cousins was cleared of murder, instead sentenced to 11 years in jail for manslaughter.
Ms Jamieson feels his conviction has done nothing to calm tensions in the community.
Even on the day of her son's funeral, she claims they were targeted by members of this same gang of teenagers.
"The day of the funeral, as we left, the cars pulled away, a few of them were at the top of the road waving - big smiles on their faces," she said.
"Next thing we heard motorbikes, and they were threatening all of Daniel's friends that were at the funeral. Saying 'you're next, you're next'."
As she came out, she says the group made a gun gesture towards her, as if to say "you're getting it next as well".
Ms Jamieson admits Daniel was caught carrying a knife in 2017.
She said: "I don't condone that Daniel felt that scared that he couldn't go anywhere without fear of being jumped or stabbed all the time."
This story of teenage boys carrying knives, fighting, stabbing and dying is not exclusive to this community - nor is it exclusive to Liverpool.
New figures show knife crime has hit a record high this year in the UK, with 36 of 43 forces across the country reporting an increase in incidents involving knives.
Merseyside has seen the second sharpest rise, with knife crime up 49%.
Ms Jamieson told Sky News that youngsters drawn into violence need to be shown that there is "more to life than hanging around in a gang".
"Youth services were pulled in Liverpool and there is nothing at all for anyone to do around here," she said.
"You've got to give kids things to do. They're all killing each other."
Liverpool City Council says it has tried to protect front-line youth work, but has lost 66% of its government funding since 2010.
Merseyside Police Inspector Andy Creer told Sky News a "joint effort" was required to tackle knife crime, including help from the public.
"It's certainly one of the biggest things I've seen in my 20 years' police service," he said.
"There's no one body or one organisation that can stop the issues around knife crime. There's got to be a joint effort by everyone involved. That includes the public, potentially more than anyone else.
"We need the public to tell us who are carrying knives."
(c) Sky News 2019: Armed teens filmed terrorising boy over friend's knife death