Software engineer ‘knifed to death by boy, 14, after challenging teenagers’

A software engineer was stabbed to death by a 14-year-old boy after challenging teenagers messing about in a supermarket’s toilets, the trial of five boys accused of murder has been told.

Ian Kirwan was kicked by a 13-year-old, knifed in the heart and died before reaching hospital, jurors heard.

Opening the trial of five youngsters aged 13 to 15 at the time of the 53-year-old’s death, prosecutor Benjamin Aina KC told Birmingham Crown Court the 14-year-old who delivered the killer strike is claiming diminished responsibility.

Mr Kirwan, who worked as a contractor for Jaguar Land Rover, died on March 8 after suffering a chest wound outside Asda in Jinnah Road, Redditch, Worcestershire.

Crown court stock
Birmingham Crown Court, where the trial is taking place (PA)

Opening the Crown’s case, Mr Aina told the court: “Ian Kirwan left his home in Redditch with the intention of going to B&Q to buy a light switch.

“At about 7.15 in the evening, Mr Kirwan went into Asda and entered the customer toilets. When he did so, he came into contact with a group of five young males who were messing about.

“A little later he left the toilets. He left the Asda store and some of the boys were outside and he challenged them. ‘Why were you messing about in the toilets’ – words to that effect.

“A scuffle broke out and, during that scuffle, Ian Kirwan was stabbed once to his heart with a knife and he died before getting to hospital. He was only 53 years old.

“There is no dispute in this case that the person who stabbed Ian Kirwan was (the 14-year-old).

“However, the prosecution’s case is that at the time Ian Kirwan was stabbed with the knife, the five boys were acting together as a group – intentionally assisting and encouraging (the boy who stabbed Mr Kirwan) and that they intended that Mr Kirwan should be caused at least really serious harm with the knife that was used.

“Therefore, the prosecution say, in law all five boys are jointly responsible for Mr Kirwan’s death.”

Telling the jury about the boys, Mr Aina said they travelled from Birmingham to Redditch as part of a larger group.

During the journey, the group behaved in an anti-social way, throwing rubbish and causing passengers to move, the court heard.

One of the defendants allegedly removed a knife from a bag in the presence of others during the trip.

The prosecutor said of the youth who stabbed Mr Kirwan: “His case is that at the time of the killing he was suffering from mental disorders and as a result of these disorders his ability to form a rational judgement was substantially impaired and therefore he is not guilty of murder.

“The prosecution accept that he suffered from the mental health disorders that I have mentioned. What the prosecution say is that what was operating on (the youth’s) mind at the time of the killing was a behaviour disorder.

“And a behaviour disorder is not a mental health disorder.”

Another defendant, 15, gave a knife to the boy who stabbed Mr Kirwan, the court heard.

Mr Aina said the 15-year-old has pleaded guilty to possession of a knife but maintained that he is not responsible for the death.

The defendants, given seats on the back row of the well of the court rather than in the dock, cannot be identified because of their age.

All deny murder, an alternative charge of manslaughter and violent disorder.

The 14-year-old who stabbed Mr Kirwan denies unlawful possession of a knife on March 8.

The trial continues.