Teen stabbed in mass disturbance

Police custody photograph of Leo Williams
-Credit: (Image: South Wales Police)


A balaclava-wearing teenager who repeatedly stabbed a boy in the street during a mass disturbance has been sentenced to four years detention. Leo Williams chased and slashed his young victim five times before jumping into a car and being driven away.

Williams - who also goes by the name Leo Taylor - denied inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent but was convicted at trial at Swansea Crown Court last month. Sending the 18-year-old down a judge said it was only a matter of luck that his victim has not suffered more serous injuries.

The victim - who cannot be named due to his age - was stabbed in the early hours of November 19 last year in the Plasmarl area of Swansea. Williams' trial heard the background to the outburst of violence was an argument between two groups of young men on messaging app Snapchat which developed into a confrontation near Rossi's chip and the Coppers Arms pub on Neath Road.

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The defendant was one of a number of males in a Ford Fiesta who were involved in an altercation with another group - variously estimated at between 12 and 20 in number - and at one stage was heard to shout from the car "Do you know who I am? I'm Leo Taylor!" The group on the street scattered when a knife was produced from the Ford, and the victim ran to nearby Millbrook Street. It was here that balaclava-wearing Williams chased his victim, a 16-year-old, and slashed him on the back and arms as he ran for his life. At the street's junction with Cwm Level Road the victim turned to face his attacker and pleaded with him not to stab him. Williams slashed his victim again then jumped back into the Fiesta and was driven away.

The court heard that the victim was unable to identify his assailant due to his face covering but police identified Williams as their prime suspect. The Fiesta was subsequently stopped heading westwards on the M4 between the Penllerager and Hendy junctions while Williams was arrested at home in the Neath Valley.

In his initial police interview Williams denied being in Swansea at all on the night in question saying he was in Neath town centre. He later admitted he had been picked up in the Fiesta and taken to Plasmarl after being asked to help deal with a "problem", namely "four boys" only to find when he got to Swansea they were confronted by a large group of youngster, some of whom he said were holding poles. He denied getting out of the car and denied being the one who stabbed the victim. Williams told the court he was known as "the boxer" and was friends with former world champion boxer Enzo Maccarinelli, and he and said if he was going to fight anyone it would be with his fists and not with a knife.

During the trial the court heard there was no evidence that any of the group of males who confronted the occupants of the Ford were carrying poles. The court also heard the knife used in the stabbing has never been found, no forensic evidence was found inside the Fiesta, the defendant's phone has never been found - despite the fact he had been talking to a detective on it shortly before his arrest - and the grey jacket Williams was wearing on the night in question could not be forensically examined in the lab as it had not been immediately bagged and handled correctly after being recovered from his mother's house. The court also heard that no one else has been charged with any offences in connection with the disturbance.

After deliberating for two-and-a-half hours the jury found Williams, of Pen-yr-Allt, Resolven, Neath Valley, guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent, and guilty of possession of a bladed article. He has no previous convictions. For the latest court reports, sign up to our crime newsletter here

Recorder David Elias KC said it was only a matter of luck that the victim had not received even more serous injuries in the assault. He said in coming to his sentence he had read detailed reports on Williams, was mindful of the defendant's "difficult upbringing", and had reminded himself of the sentencing principles for sentencing young people. He noted the assault had taken place just a matter of days after Williams turned 18, and said there was no sudden "cliff edge" for sentencing between those under 18 and those aged 18 and over. Williams was sentenced to four years in a young offenders institution.

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