Two adolescents have been given life sentences after confessing to the murder of a teenage male in a brutal assault in Huddersfield.
The 15 and 17-year-old males from Huddersfield, who are not named due to legal constraints, were sentenced at Leeds Crown Court on Monday, December 18, for the murder of 17-year-old Harley Brown in February of this year.
The assault, occurring after an unexpected encounter among the trio, has been denounced by senior detectives as a tragic illustration of the dire repercussions of knife crime.
During sentencing, the 15-year-old received a life term in custody with a minimum of 10 years and three months, while the 17-year-old was also sentenced to life with a minimum term of 14 years and six months.
Leeds Crown Court was informed that Harley had encountered the defendants by chance at the entrance of a 24-hour shop on Colne Street around 3:40 am on Monday, February 20th.
The males, familiar to Harley and aged 14 and 16 during the incident, pursued him to Maple Street, where he was attacked with bladed weapons. Harley managed to stagger to Kings Mill Lane, where emergency services found him, having sustained multiple stab injuries.
Despite receiving emergency medical treatment at the hospital, Harley tragically succumbed to his injuries later that Monday morning.
The 15-year-old was apprehended shortly after the murder on February 20th, while the 17-year-old was arrested on February 22nd.
Addressing the pressing issue of knife crime, particularly incidents involving young individuals, has been a primary focus for both Kirklees Police and the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Partnership, with numerous initiatives underway.
These initiatives encompass educational campaigns in schools, ongoing patrols, and interventions against knife crime by the dedicated Operation Jemlock teams, police education specialists, and the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit.
Detective Superintendent Alan Weekes, who led police enquiries into the murder of Harley, said: “The murder of Harley sadly stands as a terrible example of the dreadful consequences of knife crime.
“His attackers pursued him from the shop and ran him down to Maple Street where he was subjected to a savage attack, sustaining what proved to be fatal injuries.
“These males were prepared to use appalling violence, almost on a whim, and anyone prepared to act in such a way clearly has no place on the streets.
In a statement issued after sentencing, Harley’s mother said: “On the 20th February 2023, the day came which no mother should ever have to go through. I brought Harley to Huddersfield to be safe. He won’t celebrate any more Christmas’s or birthdays. He won’t ever get married, have kids, get a job, drive a car, or have the chance to do the right thing and support his own family one day. You two get to continue with your lives, Harley doesn’t, I don’t, his sisters don’t, his brother doesn’t. You have destroyed a whole family.
Harley’s sisters, also said: “We haven’t been able to understand why anyone would do this. To go to court and see those two who deliberately murdered our little brother, has affected us in ways which we struggle to deal with. We will struggle for the rest of our lives.
“You two have not just taken our little brother’s life, you have taken so much else from us, you have ripped a whole loving close family apart and our lives won’t be the same again. We struggle to process what has happened and grieve ourselves,
“We have to realise that our little brother Harley has been killed and is never coming back.”
Chief Superintendent Jim Griffiths District Commander of Kirklees Police, said: “Knife crime thankfully continues to fall in Kirklees with a 21 per cent reduction in knife offences involving people under 25 in the last 12 months. We realise however, that is clearly no consolation to victims or the relatives of victims in appalling offences such as these.
“It is chilling that some young people feel it is acceptable to act in this way, carry weapons and inflict such savage violence on each other.
“We must remember that those who do so are very much in the minority, but very much appreciate the fear and concern these incidents cause.
“We and colleagues in the Violence Reduction Partnership are in the midst of a massive programme to reduce knife crime in West Yorkshire through both education and enforcement action against those determined to carry and use knives.
“Those education initiatives have now reached tens of thousands of children across the force area and we continue to ask for help from communities to tell us about those carrying these weapons.”