Leighton Amies: boy, 15, who boasted ‘I’ve wetted your boy’ after stabbing teen in chest jailed for 12 years
The court heard the young defendant "relished" having a knife that night, which he had taken from his kitchen at home
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A 15-year-old boy convicted of murder after boasting “I’ve wetted your boy” when stabbing a teenager in his chest will serve at least 12 years behind bars for murder.
Leighton Amies, then just 14, stabbed Tomasz Oleszak, also 14, deep in his chest at a nature park in Gateshead last October - after he was followed by a group of boys. Amies was handed a life sentence at Newcastle Crown Court on Thursday (15 June), and will have to serve 12 years in prison before he is eligible for release.
Justice Martin Spencer said Amies “relished” having a knife that night, which he had taken from his kitchen at home. He shouted “I’ve wetted your boy” at a group of youths after he stabbed Tomasz, the judge said, and did so “triumphantly”.
A victim impact statement was read out in court on behalf of Tomasz’s mother Kamila Wisniewska, in which she paid tribute to her “kind, loving and sporty” older son, who was born in Poland and who moved with his family to Gateshead in 2012.
She said he was was popular, respectful and hated violence. Ms Wisniewska, who cried in the public gallery when addressed by the judge, had been called to the scene of the stabbing and said: “I have flashbacks to that night, trying desperately to keep my boy alive.”
The judge also appeared to become emotional when he referred back to comments made by her younger son, aged six, who told her: “Mum, don’t cry so much, Tomasz wouldn’t want you to.” Speaking to the teenage defendant in the dock, the judge said: “This was the beautiful, exceptional, gifted boy whose life you, Leighton, brought to an end.”
The judge accepted Amies was not the instigator of the incident, but added Tomasz was blameless. He told Amies: “However, the principal responsibility lies with you in taking the knife with you."
After Amies' earlier conviction, Justice Spencer rules the young defendant should be named as it was in the public interest and would act as a deterrent to young people carrying knives. Child defendants usually get anonymity until they turn 18, however judges can allow them to be identified after conviction if it’s in the public interest.
“There is a public interest in trying to deflect young people from the carrying of knives, where when that happens, this kind of utterly tragic outcome can occur. In my judgement, the public interest in reporting fully of these proceedings, including the identity of the defendant, in fact outweighs the interests of the defendant in having the anonymity of his identity maintained," he said.
Amies had denied murder and claimed he did know he had stabbed the boy and slashed another youth’s coat after being attacked by a gang, however he was convicted by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court on 17 April.
Jurors heard that the Amies was walking through Whitehills Nature Park with his girlfriend at around 8pm when a group of youths followed them.
He was carrying a serrated kitchen knife in his jacket pocket, which he told the court he picked up at home for “reassurance”. This knife was later used to slash Tomasz when he came under attack from a group.
The court heard that the teenager shouted “I’ve wetted your boy” to the gang after landing the fatal blow. Mark McKone KC, prosecuting, told jurors: “He wanted them to know he had stabbed one of their number. It was a boast.”
Peter Makepeace KC, defending, told jurors the Amies had not been looking for trouble and asked the jury to put themselves in his situation - aged 14, attacked by a group, in the dark, not knowing if any of the gang were armed. He said: “This is a 14-year-old under group attack and having to make terrible decisions under a moment’s notice.”
The jury also convicted Amies of a charge of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm on the boy whose coat was slashed. He is due to be sentenced in May.
His defence team had asked the judge to wait until he is sentenced in May before considering whether to lift the reporting restriction. But the judge maintained the public had a right to know the full details of the case of a 14-year-old boy who was murdered in a park. Once the defendant turned 18, the anonymity order would run out, and the judge said his sentence will take Amies beyond that birthday.