Killer teens who slaughtered victim 'like lions on prey' locked up for more than 130 years for horror execution


Killer teenagers who ambushed their victim 'like lions on prey' and chopped at him with a 24cm Rambo knife' have been locked up for more than 130 years. Bailey Atkinson mumbled "I'm going to die, tell my mum I love her" as he bled to death in a deserted town centre after a horrific attack by a gang of armed assailants.

Chilling CCTV footage captured the 21-year-old as he was chased to his death, unable to outrun his attackers in the final moments of his life. He was left for dead in a pool of his own blood, with a murder weapon lodged in his shoulder.

The violent onslaught was witnessed in part by staff at a nearby Asda who had unwittingly stepped outside for a brief break from work. They rushed to his aid as the slaughter came to an end, seconds after Mr Atkinson had wrenched the embedded blade from his body.

READ MORE: How Walsall Asda workers rushed to aid of murder victim hacked to death in deserted town

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He was so badly wounded medics were forced to perform open heart surgery at the scene. A total of seven killers were today (Friday, May 24) locked up for his murder.

They had denied their vicious attack but were convicted by jurors in March. The killers received these sentences at Nottingham Crown Court:

  • Patrick Brookes, 18, of Hunter Crescent, Walsall, was detained for life, with a minimum term of 20 years, after being convicted of murder by a majority

  • Ronan McCulloch, 19, of Livingstone Road, Bloxwich, was jailed for life, with a minimum term of 20 years, after being unanimously convicted of murder

  • Sonny Loveridge, 20, of Irvine Road, Bloxwich, was jailed for life, with a minimum term of 23 years, after being unanimously convicted of murder

  • Benjamin Wilkes, 18, of Guild Avenue, Bloxwich, was detained for life, with a minimum term of 18 years, after being unanimously convicted of murder

  • One 17-year-old, from Walsall, was detained for life, with a minimum term of 19 years, after being unanimously convicted of murder

  • A second 17-year-old, from Walsall, was detained for life, with a minimum term of 19 years, after being unanimously convicted of murder

  • A 17-year-old, from Marston Green, was detained for life, with a minimum term of 19 years, after being convicted of murder by a majority

Clockwise from top left: Benjamin Wilkes, Patrick Brookes, Sonny Loverage, Ronan McCullogh
Benjamin Wilkes and Patrick Brookes -Credit:WMP

Nvaah Whitter, 18, of Innovation Way, Walsall, was acquitted of murder and an alternative charge of manslaughter. A 16-year-old, from Walsall, was also acquitted of murder and an alternative charge of manslaughter.

The youth defendants cannot be named for legal reasons because of their age. Mr Atkinson had moved to Walsall from Coventry two years previously to 'escape a gang lifestyle', West Midlands Police said.

He had been out with a female friend when he was killed in High Street, Walsall, on January 28 last year. The pair were dropped in the town centre by a taxi driver as the killers arrived in two cars - a Toyota and a Seat Leon - which had both been stolen days earlier.

Footage from CCTV played to jurors captured both cars passing Mr Atkinson as he walked with his friend towards market stalls in the early hours of January 28 last year. The cars turned around before the Seat Leon drove towards the victim and the woman.

Mr Atkinson ran towards The Entertainer and Poundland shops as the woman ran in the opposite direction. One person got out of the Seat Leon while Mr Atkinson was standing outside Poundland.

The victim ran back towards the market stalls before clinging on to a lamppost as the Seat Leon drove towards him again. Moments later, he was recorded on the ground as his attackers surrounded him to 'lay blows', the trial heard.

Bailey Atkinson -Credit:PA
Bailey Atkinson -Credit:PA

Gang members rushed back to the two vehicles as Mr Atkinson was left seriously wounded on the ground. Both cars were driven to grassland near Slater Street and Gough Street, where they were dumped and 'set alight'.

Police officers at the scene spotted stab wounds across Mr Atkinson's body - including his back, arms and legs. The 'Rambo' knife was discovered underneath the victim, who was initially conscious but bleeding heavily.

The victim said "I can't breathe" before his breathing stopped and CPR was delivered by medics. Mr Atkinson was rushed to Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham but was pronounced dead at 2.55am.

Cuts to more than 30 areas of his body were found during a post-mortem, with stab wounds puncturing his lungs and severing an artery. He had 65 separate areas of bruises and abrasions, as well as 'chop or slash-type injuries'.