Boy, 15, found guilty of murdering teenager Alfie Lewis

A 15-year-old boy has been found guilty of the murder of teenager Alfie Lewis.

Alfie, 15, was stabbed to death in front of pupils leaving a primary school in the Horsforth area of Leeds last November.

A teenager - who cannot be named - admitted stabbing Alfie with a 13cm-long knife he had brought from home, but denied murder and claimed he was acting in self-defence when he pulled out the blade.

When the verdict was announced, sobs could be heard from Alfie's family in the public gallery at Leeds Crown Court. Most of them were wearing T-shirts with pictures of him and the words "Forever 15" on them.

The defendant showed no visible emotion. Before being taken away, he held hands with his parents through a gap in the dock glass.

He will be sentenced on 21 June.

Judge Mr Justice Cotter told him: "You have been found guilty of murder. There is only one sentence I can pass. What I have to determine is how many years you will be detained before you are able to be released."

Jurors heard Alfie had been walking down the street to meet friends at the end of the school day when the defendant, who was 14 at the time, attacked him with a kitchen knife.

Prosecutor Craig Hassall KC said: "Alfie did not get as far as meeting any of his friends that day."

Alfie was stabbed twice, once in the chest and once in the leg, in the "full view of scores of pupils leaving school and the people who were waiting to collect them", Mr Hassall added.

Eyewitnesses said they saw Alfie back away, saying "chill out" and "what are you doing?" as the defendant swung at him with the weapon.

A post-mortem found the fatal stab injury was a 14cm-deep wound to Alfie's chest which punctured his heart.

The defendant fled the scene and dropped the murder weapon in the road close to the school, said Mr Hassall.

Alfie's family pay tribute

Speaking outside the court following the verdict, Alfie's brother Antony Lewis read a statement on behalf of his family.

He thanked the jury for reaching "what, to us, appears a sensible and obvious conclusion that Alfie did not pose a threat to anyone around him, and his death was senseless".

"Our deepest thanks go to all those individuals who rushed to Alfie's aid after he was attacked, who showed him love care and compassion and tried to save his life," he said.

Paying tribute to his younger brother, he continued: "Most of all, we'd like to say thank you to Alfie for giving us your love, joy and humour, and for making us smile every day of the 15 years we had to enjoy you and love you.

"You are always in our hearts and our minds, and until we are all together again keep dancing in the sky our beautiful boy. We miss and love you always."

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The jury was told there had been two previous incidents involving the teenagers.

The first was in July, when Alfie intervened during a fight between the defendant and another boy. The second was on Halloween and involved a bag of fireworks the defendant was carrying.

The defendant, who previously pleaded guilty to possession of the kitchen knife, had told the court he was scared of Alfie and pulled out the knife in self-defence. The jury discounted his claims and convicted him of murder.

During the investigation, the knife was matched to a set at the defendant's home and Alfie's blood was found on his clothing.

The teenager is believed to have carried the knife at school all day while preparing to find Alfie at home time. He was arrested around an hour after being identified as the suspect by a witness.