Parents ‘broken’ by ambush murder of 13-year-old Olly Stephens

The three defendants, all now 14 years old, cannot be named because of their age.

Stuart and Amanda Stephens outside Reading Crown Court (Steve Parsons/PA)
Stuart and Amanda Stephens outside Reading Crown Court (Steve Parsons/PA)

The parents of 13-year-old Oliver Stephens say they are “completely broken” by their son’s murder as his killers face sentencing.

Olly, who had autism, was lured to a field in Emmer Green, Reading, by a girl he knew on January 3 this year, where he was knifed to death by two of his former friends who were lying in wait.

Speaking at the sentencing hearing on Friday of the three teenagers convicted of Olly’s killing, Stuart Stephens said: “We are strong enough to deal with most problems thrown our way but this has completely broken us.”

Mr Stephens told Reading Crown Court: “Olly trusted people too much, it was part of his make-up, it was part of his autism – it was why we loved him.

“He knew no sense of danger, he stood up for himself in a confrontation and was unable to back down, but was kind and loving.”

Mr Stephens described the “utterly horrific” moment he was told his son’s body was now forensic evidence, and that he would no longer be able to hold him or touch him.

“Had he asked me for help that day, I would have moved heaven and earth to give it to him,” he said.

In a victim impact statement, he added: “I had one job as a father, to protect my children, and I failed miserably – I will never forgive myself.”

He added: “(Olly) didn’t deserve his fate no matter what he might have said or done, no child deserves such a callous fate.”

Olly’s death came following a dispute on social media, in which the teenager had apparently defended another boy.

His mother Amanda Stephens added in an impact statement: “Olly always stood up for the underdog, it got him into trouble, but that was just him.”

Two boys were convicted of murdering Olly, described by his family as a “warm, kind, soulful” boy, following a trial at the same court this summer.

A girl, who set up the “ambush”, already admitted manslaughter and did not stand trial.

The three defendants, all now 14, cannot be named because of their age.

Emmer Green stabbing
Olly Stephens was stabbed and killed near his home after being lured to a park by a teenage girl (Thames Valley Police/PA)

The trial previously heard that the victim, widely known as Olly, was convinced to go to Bugs Bottom field near his home in Emmer Green, by the girl, where he was then “ambushed” by the two boys and stabbed to death.

The court heard both boys had “grievances” with Olly, while the girl is said to have described any violence against him as “karma” in the run-up to his death.

It was said that the younger of the two boys, aged 13 at the time, inflicted the fatal blows on Olly’s body.

He will be sentenced for murder and perverting the course of justice after he admitted disposing of clothing worn at the time of the attack.

The older boy will be sentenced for murder, two counts of perverting the course of justice for deleting apps from his mobile phone, which he admitted, and for throwing away clothes worn during the attack, which he had denied but was convicted of.

The girl pleaded guilty to manslaughter and perverting the course of justice by deleting data from her mobile phone.

The trial was held in special conditions, with frequent breaks and counsel removing their gowns and wigs, due to the defendants’ ages.

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