Five teenagers have been given prison sentences of between 16 and 24 years for stabbing a 17-year-old boy to death as part of a gang turf war in Kent.
A number of tit-for-tat attacks between teenagers in Medway towns unfolded over the course of some months last year, Maidstone crown court heard.
A group of teenagers from a rival gang descended upon Kyle Yule, 17, “like vultures” during a revenge attack on 6 October in Gillingham. After he was chased from a parked car and stabbed five times, the teenager died on the operating table in the early hours of the next morning.
“This was a revenge attack,” said the sentencing judge Adele Williams. “It was a senseless, ruthless and calculated killing, for which not one of you has at any stage shown any sign of remorse.”
She handed them all sentences of detention for life.
Yule’s mother, Nikki, who burst into tears as she read a victim impact statement to the court, labelled her son’s killers “cowards” and said they had “ruined lives for ever”.
“Kyle was loving, kind-hearted, warm, funny, handsome and full of life,” she said. “He was my best friend. You were cowards running around with weapons. How dare you sit there and look forward to your birthdays.
“I had to arrange a funeral for my son when I should have been planning his 18th birthday.”
Victor Maibvisira, 19, Shezakia Daley, 18, both of Gillingham; Tyler Ralph, of Hertfordshire, and Ephrain Akinwunmi-Streets, of Sittingbourne, both 17; and 16-year-old Jordan Dania, of Croydon, were all convicted of his murder after an eight-week trial.
Some of the defendants’ relatives, who were sat in the packed courtroom, fell to the floor in tears as they were led away. None of the defendants reacted to their sentences. The sentences will be served in youth detention centres until the defendants turn 21.
The ringleader, Maibvisira, will serve a minimum term of 24 years, while the others will each serve a minimum term of 16 years. The judge warned that they may never be released.
During the trial, the court heard that the five defendants, including Maibvisira who was known by his tag name V, were on East Street when they encountered a Renault Clio with Yule inside.
In an effort to force him out of the vehicle, a witness said the “group were smashing the car as if they were possessed”.
Yule escaped from the car and ran towards his best friend’s home where he was knocked to the ground and attacked in the front garden.
A witness told officers the group chasing him “were on him like vultures, kicking and punching him”.
There had been a string of disputes between the two groups before the attack, the trial heard, but Kent police has insisted the killing was not gang-related and there is not a problem with gangs in the area.
The court heard that Yule was affiliated with a gang named G10 in Gillingham, while the defendants were a part of C4 in Chatham. Both groups are described as gangs in a Medway council report into tackling gang violence.
There were two fatal stabbings in the conurbation of Medway last year, including Yule’s, which were among 73 overall across the town.
DCI Ivan Beasley said: “These were two separate groups of former friends who fell out over something as small as a push bike and the defendants’ response was to attack a young man with knives.”
He said they behaved “in an appalling manner with no regard for his life”.
Akinwunmi-Streets, Daley, Ralph and Dania were granted anonymity during the trial due to their age but after the verdict the judge allowed their names and the towns in which they lived to be reported in the interests of “open justice”.