Teenage killer's shameless bid to get his life sentence cut

Yousef Sesay
-Credit: (Image: GMP)

A teenage killer jailed for the murder of a friend over a drug deal gone wrong has lost a bid to have his sentence reduced. Yousef Sesay was told he would serve a minimum of 22 years in prison for his part in the fatal stabbing of 17-year-old Kyle Hackland in Withington in November 2022.

Sesay, then 18, was one of four teenagers jailed over the senseless killing. Manchester Crown Court heard Kyle was stabbed to death in broad daylight after being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

He was targeted because of his association with a friend, who one of his killers blamed after he was 'set up' in a drug deal gone wrong. Kyle was set upon by the gang-of-four after they saw him walking with his friend, a man named James Todd.

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Todd fled when he saw them but Kyle, who knew all four, appeared to be taken by surprise by the brutal attack. Tafari Smith, then aged 16, stabbed him before Yousef Sesay and Lewis Ludford, both aged 18, joined in as Kyle was punched and kicked.

Manchester Crown Court heard that 17-year-old Alfie Benson drove the killers to and from the scene in a stolen VW Golf. After leaving Kyle to die in a driveway on Southlea Road, at about 11.30am on November 22, 2022, the four, some of who claimed to be Kyle's friend, arranged to be 'taken into hiding'.

Following a trial in June last year, Smith, Sesay and Ludford were found guilty of murder. Benson was convicted of manslaughter.

Kyle Hackland -Credit:GMP
Kyle Hackland -Credit:GMP

Sesay, of Denton Road, Audenshaw; Smith, of Lancashire Hill, Stockport; Ludford, of Aylesby Avenue, Gorton; were all detained at His Majesty's pleasure, the equivalent of a life sentence for juveniles. Benson, of Wellington Road North, Stockport, was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Smith will serve a minimum of 19 years. Sesay and Ludford will serve a minimum of 22 and 21 years respectively.

But at London's Appeal Court Sesay launched an appeal to have his sentence reduced, arguing there was an 'unjustified disparity' between his jail term and that of co-defendant Lewis Ludford. Barrister Tim Storrie KC said Sesay's position was 'effectively identical' to Ludford and therefore the minimum prison terms imposed should have been the same.

Yousef Sesay, Tafari Smith and Lewis Ludford -Credit:GMP
Yousef Sesay, Tafari Smith and Lewis Ludford -Credit:GMP

The pair were almost exactly the same age, said Mr Storrie, and 'neither [Ludford's] personal circumstances nor his involvement in the offence gave rise to any greater mitigation than existed in relation to Sesay'.

But the appeal was rejected by Lord Justice William Davis, Mr Justice Morris and judge Peter Johnson. They wrote: "There was a legitimate basis for the minimum term in Ludford’s case being 12 months less than that relating to Sesay. In particular, it was not wrong for the judge to take account of Ludford’s acceptance that he was involved in the unlawful killing of Hackland."

But the judges did grant an appeal to reduce the length Sesay's sentence by 301 days - the time he had spent on remand - after the Appeal Court heard the judge in the original trial had failed to 'specify in his sentence the days on remand to be counted as time served'.