Teenager found guilty of stabbing 15-year-old while trying to steal his bike
Published 17/09/2015 | 17:00
A teenager has been found guilty of stabbing a 15-year-old boy to death as he tried to steal his bicycle.
Joshua Williams, 18, lashed out with a blade as popular young student Alan Cartwright "innocently" rode along Caledonian Road, north London, with his friends in February.
At the time of the attack caught on graphic CCTV, Williams had been on police bail on suspicion of possessing a four-inch lock knife although he was never charged.
The defendant claimed to have an alibi but following a trial at the Old Bailey he was convicted of murder and conspiracy to rob.
Alan - who was known as Little Al by his family - was killed close to the spot where 16-year-old Ben Kinsella was also stabbed to death eight years ago, prompting a high profile anti-knife campaign led by his sister, the EastEnders actress Brooke Kinsella.
Following today's verdict, Alan's family called for more stop and searches and tougher 10-year mandatory sentences for possessing knives to deter young people.
His father Alan Cartwright senior, 44, said: "It will make people think twice about carrying a knife."
Alan's death made headlines as "another tragic example of the knife crime that blights our society", prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC had told the court.
On the evening of February 27, Alan was cycling with five friends when Williams and two other youths intercepted them, the trial heard.
In just seven seconds, they stepped out in front of the cyclists and managed to take two bikes before the third robber approached Alan in the road and swung a knife at his chest in a "deliberate and gratuitous" stabbing, Mr Rees said.
Despite being mortally wounded, Alan did not come off his bike and he managed to cycle on before collapsing a short distance up the road outside the Cally swimming pool.
He was pronounced dead a short time later despite the efforts of a first aider, police and paramedics.
On March 4, Williams went to Islington police station with his parents to hand himself in, the prosecution said.
When asked why they were there, his mother told an officer it was about the incident in Caledonian Road, saying: "Yes, he's involved, he did it."
And as he was taken into custody, Williams, who lived off Holloway Road, north London, was heard by another officer to say: "It's the right thing to do, isn't it?".
But in his defence, Williams claimed he was at a youth club that night and he only went to the police station to tell them that he was not involved in the incident.
The court heard that the defendant, nicknamed Slimzy, was identified as the third robber in a comment about the CCTV footage which was released by police and posted on YouTube.
His parents and brother also gave evidence to back up his claims - however the jury had spotted the apparently religious family did not all swear on the Bible in the witness box.
Mr Rees told jurors that his alibi was in tatters and the evidence from his family was "disappointing" because they had "decided to abandon their principles to support him in his lies to the court".
He suggested the defendant carried a knife on the day of the robbery because he was the victim of an earlier knife attack at the hands of a group of youths which Williams had said also happened in Caledonian Road three months before.
The prosecutor also pointed out that the CCTV showed the killer who wielded the knife was clearly left-handed - the same as Williams.
Alan's parents Michelle and Alan senior with his sister Cherrie Ives, 21, attended court every day of the trial as the evidence unfolded.
The jury took three hours to reject Williams' explanation. He will be sentenced alongside 18-year-old Shaquille Roberts and a 16-year-old who have already pleaded guilty to the bicycle robbery.
So far this year, there have been 10 knife-related murders in London.
Mr Cartwright, mother Michelle Watson and sister Cherrie Ives wept in court at the jury delivered its verdict.
In a statement read to the court, Alan's mother told how news of his death came as an "unbelievable shock" as she rushed down to the scene eight months pregnant with her third child.
She said: "Life without Al is killing me as his mum. It's also had devastating effect on his family. He loved his dad Al senior. Al has not been able to go back to work since this happened
"He says he cannot see a future without him. He was our loving boy - our only son."
Williams will be sentenced tomorrow at noon.