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Derek Whyteside murder: Teenage Telford killer named and sentenced to life in prison

By Dominic Robertson | Telford | Crime | Published: | Last Updated:

A 16-year-old Telford boy has been given a life sentence for murdering a stepfather who was looking for his children’s stolen bikes.

Jimmy Owens was today sentenced to life with a minimum of 10 years

Jimmy Owens, of Lawns Wood, Malinslee, was sentenced to a 10-year minimum term for killing 42-year-old Derek Whyteside by hitting him from behind with a cricket bat.

Reporting restrictions preventing Owens being named as the killer were lifted by the judge at Stoke Crown Court on Thursday.

The altercation had taken place outside Owens’ home on June 18 as Mr Whyteside pursued The 16 year old with a knuckle duster as he sought those responsible for taking the bikes.

Derek Whyteside was murdered by 16-year-old Jimmy Owens in June

Sentencing at Stoke Crown Court Judge Paul Glenn said that they were being followed by members of Owens’ family and when his mother shouted at Whyteside he turned around and her son emerged from bushes to hit the stepfather over the back of the head with a cricket bat.

Judge Glenn said the victim, who was “plainly ready for trouble”, “never saw that blow coming and had no chance to take evasive action”.

Jimmy Owens. Photo: Facebook.

The blow, described by a witness as “a baseball bat swing” fractured Mr Whyteside’s skull, from the back, round to his eye socket.

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He then fell to the floor, again hitting his head, causing further damage. He died 36 hours later in hospital.

William Owens, left, and Gareth Owens

Owens’ father, William, 41, and his uncle Gareth, both of Boulton Grange, Telford, were also jailed for 20 months after admitting charges affray, in what Judge Glenn described as “despicable” behaviour.

William Owens had punched Mr Whyteside in the head as he lay dying in the road.

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Judge Glenn said: “Your part was frankly outrageous.”

Jimmy Owens. Photo: Facebook.

He added: “He was set upon, you William Owens assaulted Mr Whyteside while he lay on his back in the road unconscious and dying.

“You struck him in a cowardly and appalling way.”

He added: “There is evidence that you were like a pack of hyenas.”

Sentencing Gareth Owens he added: “Your role equates to that of your brother. You assaulted Mr Whyteside as he was lying on the road dying. It was a cowardly and desperately unpleasant assault.”

Derek Whyteside with his partner Michelle Beddall

The court also heard that the group had taken a photo of Mr Whyteside as he lay dying in the road, even before he had been placed in the recovery position.

They also shouted at two girls who walked past the scene, asking what they were looking at.

The court was told that Owens had finished school that day, and that provocation had played a role in the events which took place later that day.

The court heard that he had not taken the bikes and that another youth had since been cautioned for their theft.

Coverage of the court case:

But, Judge Glenn said: “You, Jimmy Owens, knew who took those bikes and the inference is you could have assisted in their recovery without naming names.

“If you had done the decent thing at that stage none of the subsequent events would have happened.”

Judge Glenn said Mr Whyteside had paid a “terrible price”.

He said: “Derek Whyteside was no saint, he had his demons in the form of alcohol and drugs. He behaved badly on the day in question but paid a terrible and totally unjustified price for doing so.”

The court was told that two bikes had been taken from Mr Whyteside’s children, and their mother, Michelle Beddall had set about finding them.

Using CCTV she was led to the home of Owens where she was told that he was not responsible.

At the same time Mr Whyteside had already gone looking for those responsible.

Judge Glenn said: “Derek Whyteside decided to go looking for those who he plainly considered and understood to be involved and particularly you Jimmy Owens.

Angry

“He went out armed with a knuckle duster, he was plainly ready for trouble.”

A witness described seeing Mr Whyteside “shouting and angry”.

Owens and friends had seen Mr Whyteside and run away, before arming themselves; Owens with a cricket bat and a friend with a rounders style bat.

Jimmy Owens. Photo: Facebook.

Owens had then gone home but when Whyteside arrived at his house “making threats”, he left to run away, leading to the fatal incident.

Sentencing, Judge Glenn said: “I am satisfied that your intention was to cause serious bodily harm rather than to kill.

“This is not a case in which there was any premeditation, the actions of Mr Whyteside in the lead-up amounted to some degree of provocation. But I do not accept you were acting in self defence.”

  • An earlier version of this story included a picture of a boy who was wrongly identified as Jimmy Owens. We would like to make absolutely clear that the boy in the picture was not Jimmy Owens, and has no connection whatsoever to the case, or this story. The picture has been removed and we would like to apologise for the error.

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