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article imageFamily 'Disgusted' by Manslaughter Verdict

By Tim Neale     Dec 3, 2008 in Crime
A 16-year-old, who can not be named under UK law, was acquitted of the murder of Christopher Faulkner last week. Mr Faulkner died after being stabbed during a scuffle in King George’s Playing Fields, Stevenage in April this year.
The youth pleaded not guilty to murder but admitted inflicting the single stab wound to the chest that led to the death of 20-year-old Mr. Faulkner. The jury at St Albans Crown Court found him guilty on the lesser charge of manslaughter. Judge Michael Baker QC will sentence the youth later this month after reports have been prepared.
The youth will also be sentenced for conspiracy to rob along with two 18-year-old men, Sahan Yeter of Jessop Road, Stevenage and James Treble of Stafford Street, Norwich. All three had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob.
The local Comet reported how the jury heard that the 16-year-old had gone to King George’s Playing Fields with the intention of robbing Mr Faulkner. Mr Faulkner has been described as a low level cannabis dealer. Under cross-examination, the youth said:
“I went to the park to get some cannabis. I was going to rob it by taking it off him and leaving without paying. When I did this, he became aggressive and grabbed me. He held me against a fence. I was scared; I did not know what was going to happen. I thrust out at him with my hand. I stabbed him as I was holding the knife. I could not think, I was too worried. I did not mean to stab him or cause him serious harm.”
Mr Faulkner's family are, "disgusted" by the verdict. This week the Comet reported them as saying:
"Given the evidence, we have been left wondering just how he was not convicted of murder. We went through this, thinking we would get justice; this is not justice for Christopher. He was robbed and murdered for what equals 20 pounds (US$30). They'll only serve a couple of years - is that all Christopher's life is worth?”
In recent years there has been a huge increase of knife crime in the UK. Christopher’s killing shocked Stevenage, a prosperous town of 80,000 in Hertfordshire, one of the safest counties in England. In 2006/7 Hertfordshire’s had a murder rate of 9.4 per million of population. By comparison, the average Canadian murder rate for 2006 was nearly double that, for the USA in 2006 the rate over five time as great.
More about Stevenage, Killing, Faulkner
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