The mum of a teen who was murdered in a knife attack said she will “never find forgiveness” for the 16-year-old boy who killed him.
Harley Demmon, who can be named after a judge lifted an anonymity order, has been detained for life with a minimum of 14 years for killing 17-year-old Josh Hall.
As Demmon was locked up, Josh’s family issued a warning of the dangers of knife crime saying parents need to learn an “urgent and desperate lesson”.
Demmon was only 15 years old at the time of the attack.
He had met up with the teenager in Dursley, Gloucestershire on 16 April 2021 to “sort out their differences” after he claimed that Josh had “insulted” him and alleged he made comments about a girl.
CCTV showed Josh was stabbed six times
CCTV footage of the incident was played on court as part of the trial.
Demmon was seen walking to Cam Sports Ground carrying a knife concealed underneath his clothes at around 1.20pm on 16 April 2021.
In footage minutes later, he is seen running away from the area, switching directions as he attempted to flee.
In between the two pieces of footage, Josh was stabbed six times.
A wound which Josh sustained to his abdomen was fatal despite efforts of emergency services on the scene and at bristol Southmead Hospital.
Despite fleeing, Demmon called the police and told them where the murder weapon could be found.
Family ‘will never find forgiveness’ for Demmon
Speaking at the trial at Gloucestershire Crown Court, Demmon denied the charge of murder, telling the court that the knife was to “warn” Josh away and that he “didn’t mean to stab him”.
Josh’s mother Kirsty Hall rejected his apology for her son’s death, saying: “I hope you will one day comprehend the actions you took that day.
“You changed the course of my family’s life forever.
“You apologised in court. But you misrepresented the facts.
“I do not accept your apology, I will never find forgiveness in my heart for what you did.”
Josh’s family spoke emotionally about the toll his death has had on them during impact statements which were read aloud to the court.
Ms Hall said: “It took just one minute for the world to blow up, and I knew my happy smiley best friend was never coming back.
“The sentence needs to reflect the premeditated savagery of this action. It must act as a deterrent to young people.
“It is a chance for this court to take a stand against knife crime.”
Demmon sentenced to 14 years minimum
After a two-week trial, the jury returned a guilty verdict for Demmon.
Defending, Edward Brown highlighted the fact that Demmon had contacted police himself and told them about the murder weapon, showing that he had “significant remorse and distress” about Josh’s murder.
He said: “There is significant evidence of genuine remorse from a number of different sources.
“The defendant has no police convictions. He accepted having been in fights but the level of criminality is unusually low for a young person who has committed murder with a knife.
“There is plainly a considerate side to the defendant. There is clear evidence that there is a completely different side to this young person.
“That again is unusual. It is impossible to dismiss all the evidence of remorse as having been exaggerated.”
‘Far too many lives are being destroyed by knives’
Following Demmon’s guilty verdict, Josh’s family issued a warning and plea to other parents about the dangers of knife crime.
They said: “We feel all parents need to learn an urgent and desperate lesson to take closer notice and involvement in the lives of their young people, in particular on social media.
“Similarly far too many lives are being destroyed by knives, with social media an aggravating factor.
The family also said that Josh’s life will live on, adding: “Joshua was and always will be a source of light and beauty for our family. We will continue to share our pride that Josh spread love and helped people greatly, despite his youth.
“We will continue to tell our youngest how amazing a person and brother Josh was.”
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