A student was today starting a seven-year custodial sentence for the manslaughter of 16-year-old Ben Morutare – despite denying he delivered the fatal blow.
Andy Ly, aged 18, was handed the seven-year term in a young offenders’ institution at Wolverhampton Crown Court yesterday. He pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Walsall teenager Ben.
The youngster died from a single stab wound to the leg after a large and violent fracas involving more than 40 people outside the former Old Comrades Club near Fenton Street in Smethwick on July 27 last year.
Five others, all aged between 18 and 20 including a Halesowen Town footballer, were also jailed for their parts in the incident.
Sentencing them, Deputy High Court Judge Sir Geoffrey Grigson told the group immediate custodial terms were ‘necessary’ to punish them and to deter others from violence.
He told them: “Your barristers have spoken about your hopes for the future, but Ben Morutare and his family have been deprived of his. It’s clear from the evidence that the opportunity for violence was both looked for and welcomed.”
Ly was accused of murder, which he denied, but after seven weeks of his trial he offered a plea of guilty to manslaughter which was accepted by the prosecution. But that plea was offered on the basis that he was not the one who delivered the single stab wound that led to the death of the youngster.
The sentences come following a 10-week trial and a painstaking police investigation that involved trawling more than 1,000 hours of CCTV footage, interviews of around 1,000 people, 35 arrests and 50 police officers.
Following yesterday’s hearing, investigating officer DCI Bob Hazel said: “I’m delighted with the sentences that have been imposed.
“I hope this will act as a deterrent to people in gangs. It’s had a devastating impact on all Ben’s family, and whilst I hope that the justice today will help with the healing process, they are left without a loving son.”