Teenagers cleared of murder of schoolboy Dea-John Reid - one convicted of manslaughter

Five people - including two teenagers - have been cleared of the murder of 14-year-old Dea-John Reid.

Dea-John Reid
Dea-John Reid

Dea-John was chased and fatally stabbed in Kingstanding on May 31 last year.

Two 15-year-old boys, one from from Wolverhampton and another from Great Barr, were found not guilty of murder at Birmingham Crown Court on Wednesday.

A 16-year-old from Solihull, who delivered the fatal stab wound to Dea-John, was also cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter.

Adults George Khan, 39, Newstead Road, Kingstanding, and Michael Shields, Alvis Walk, Castle Bromwich, 36, were also found not guilty of murder.

Hollie Davies, 36, of Waldon Walk, Castle Bromwich, was found not guilty to a charge of assisting an offender.

The jury had been shown video footage of the moment Dea-John had been fatally stabbed and seen CCTV of the group chasing the boy.

West Midlands Police drafted in more than 50 officers to work on the investigation in the aftermath of the killing last May Bank Holiday.

The police built a joint enterprise case against the defendants, trying all for murder despite only one person actually stabbing the boy, and it fell apart as the jurors believed the defence team's assertion they had not all meant to murder the boy.

The jury had heard how Dea-John's friends had allegedly ug some of the defendants in the hours leading up to the killing.

Justice Johnstone described the moments before the verdict as "tense" and told the public gallery to remain quiet during the verdicts. The jury earlier had broken deliberations to ask the judge about whether they could convict the defendants of manslaughter.

The killing caused a massive outpouring of grief and community tensions in Birmingham in the weeks after the tragedy.

More than 1,000 people turned out for a vigil on College Road on the spot where the boy died.

Bishop Dr. Desmond Jaddoo, Dea-John's family's spokesman, said after the verdict: "Dea-John was a well loved son, brother and uncle. His family are mortified at the verdict and are of the opinion that there is no justice for Dea-John.

"The evidence clearly shows intent with a young man with a balaclava over his face and wearing a hood chasing Dea- John with a knife and inflicting a knife and, is not reflected in the jury's decision."

Kate Seal of the CPS said: “I cannot begin to imagine the crippling sense of loss felt by Dea-John’s family and friends. The verdict of manslaughter will not undo the devastation felt by so many at the senseless loss of a young life. Such unnecessary violence has no place in our society and the death of Dea-John Reid should have never happened.

“The irrational use of violence that is now prevalent on our streets and in our communities must cease if we are to prevent further tragedies among our youth. While no verdict can return Dea-John to his family, my thoughts remain with them.”

All the defendants charged with murder, bar the 16-year-old found guilty of manslaughter, walk free from court, they have been held on remand for 10 months.

Sentencing will be at Birmingham Crown Court on May 5.

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