Express & Star

Boy, 12, convicted of Wolverhampton machete murder had tried to buy knives online

Police have said that knives including large ‘status’ weapons are being illegally sold to under-18s via social media.

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Laws around possession of large knives and machetes will be tightened up in the autumn

Illegal access to knives among young people remains a key concern for police, with dealers selling weapons to under-18s via social media.

One of the 12-year-olds convicted of murdering Shawn Seesahai claimed he got the machete used in the killing from “a friend of a friend”, but police said there was some evidence that he had searched for knives online.

Detective Inspector Damian Forrest, who led the investigation, said: “The weapon was a large machete that really no person who doesn’t need it as a tool of their trade should have any reason to own.

“Obviously, originally it would be a gardening tool.

Knife crime graphic
(PA Graphics)

“Although the facts of this case mean we can’t say for certain how that weapon came into the possession of the suspects, there is some evidence that suggests that one of them had tried to purchase knives on the internet.”

A report last month warned that underage teenagers buying knives online remains "a really concerning picture" for police, with illegal dealers selling weapons via social media.The national lead for policing knife crime, Commander Stephen Clayman, said forces in England and Wales are keen to cut off the supply of weapons as part of efforts to stop injuries and deaths.

The new tighter laws are due to come in following a campaign by the family of murdered schoolboy Ronan Kanda, backed by the Express & Star. They handed a petition to Downing Street calling for an outright ban on zombie knives and ninja swords.

Ronan, aged 16, was stabbed to death in Lanesfield, Wolverhampton, in 2022, metres from his home after being attacked with a ninja sword bought online by his murderer.

He was attacked with a ninja sword and a machete by 17-year-olds Prabjeet Veadhesa and Sukhman Shergill, who were jailed for a total of 34 years for his murder. It had been a case of mistaken identity.

The court heard the attackers had managed to buy their weapons online.

Knife-enabled homicides stood at 239 last year
The proportion of teenage homicides that involved a knife rose in the year to March 2023 compared with the previous 12 months (Joe Giddens/PA)

Official figures show that knife crime rose by 7% in England and Wales in the year to December 2023, compared with the previous 12 months, but the total 49,489 offences recorded remained below pre-pandemic levels.

Part of the increase was driven by a rise in knifepoint robberies, which went up by a fifth year on year.

Knife-enabled homicides stood at 239 last year, broadly unchanged on the 235 recorded in 2022 and also lower than pre-pandemic figures.

However, in the year to March 2023, 82% of teenage homicide victims were killed with a knife, compared with 73% in the previous year.

The latest official statistics show that West Midlands Police had the highest number of knife crime offences per head of population in England and Wales in the year to December 2023, ahead of the Metropolitan Police.

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