A 15-year-old boy has today been convicted of the murder of teenager Rohan Shand, who was killed on his way home from school in Kingsthorpe, Northampton.
Affectionately known as Fred by his family and friends, the 16-year-old died after an incident near the Cock Hotel in Harborough Road at about 3.35pm on Wednesday, March 22.
Today (Friday, August 4), a 15-year-old, who can’t be named for legal reasons, was convicted of Fred’s murder.
A 17-year-old boy, who also stood trial and who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter by a majority verdict.
During the trial at Northampton Crown Court, jurors heard how the attack on Fred was plotted on Snapchat and an electric scooter used to find him.
The attack was planned in response to a dispute between local schoolboys which had occurred the previous day at McDonalds.
Fred was walking home from school with friends and was near the Cock Hotel junction when the 15-year-old defendant found him, having already attended his school looking for him.
Fred and a friend crossed to the island changing their route home after being made aware the defendant was looking for them, but it was too late.
The 15-year-old approached Fred and having pushed him back into a tree stabbed him in the chest causing catastrophic blood loss, before fleeing. The entire incident was over in seven seconds.
Members of the public who witnessed the incident followed the defendant to a nearby house and were able to inform police of his location.
Armed officers attended the address and found the 15-year-old hiding in an attic room after being told “the guy who did it is still in the house”.
Two knives, one with Fred’s blood still on it, were found at the property, along with discarded clothing and mobile phones.
Senior Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Simon Barnes said: “I hope today’s verdict will help to bring some comfort to Fred’s father and wider family, who have shown such dignity throughout the last four months.
“The level of violence used to resolve a petty dispute between teenagers is horrifying and our focus throughout the investigation has been on securing justice for Fred and his family, and today I hope we have helped deliver that.
“Fred was simply walking home from school when the unimaginable happened. The brutal and public nature of his death caused shockwaves in the local community and his senseless murder had a profound impact on many people.
“Fred had a family expecting him to arrive home from school, but that wasn’t to be. Since when has it been that a child cannot walk home from school without fear of being stabbed?
“How did we as a society, get here? Boys and young men need to realise, that when you take a knife to a fight, this is the consequence. The teenager responsible will now carry this guilt and the stigma attached, for the rest of his life.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank those people who went to Fred’s assistance, who looked after him and his friend as well as those people who followed the defendant.
“Their quick-thinking helped us to rapidly locate and arrest him and secure evidence that has been vital for the success of this trial.”
DI Barnes added: “The circumstances of Fred’s death raised a lot of concerns about knife crime in the local community and I hope this tragedy reinforces the very real dangers and consequences of carrying a knife. You may think carrying one will give you a level of protection but in reality, if you carry a knife there’s always a risk it will be used, either by you or on you.
“Carrying and using knives escalates incidents that would otherwise be a scuffle to a murder investigation, with lives lost and others ruined.
“Myself and the team don’t want to explain to any more parents about how their child died, we don’t want to attend another post-mortem examination for a teenager who’s been stabbed to death.
“We all have a responsibility to speak to children about the dangers of knives, please take that responsibility seriously, and if you’re worried about someone who may be carrying a knife, please call us on 101. We can help, before another child like Fred, is needlessly killed.”
Chief Inspector Nathan Murray, Deputy Local Policing Area Commander, said: “Fred’s death sent shockwaves through Northampton, particularly in Kingsthorpe where it had a profound and lasting impact on all members of the community.
“I hope the harsh reality of what can happen when you choose to carry a knife will help people reassess their actions. Carrying a knife isn’t smart, it doesn’t give you added protection. Carrying a knife means there’s an increased chance you will use it, or it will be used against you.
“We know some young people feel they have no choice but to carry a knife, I urge those people to speak to a parent, carer, teacher or youth worker and ask for help. You can also speak to your local police officer or police community support officer.
“We want to help young people make positive choices and there’s lots of support available for them and anyone who has concerns about someone carrying a knife. Asking for help is not a weakness and could prevent someone else from losing their life.
“Anyone who would like any support and information about knife crime can visit our website and if you’d like to speak to someone, call 101.”