Liverpool

Teen killer's 'exceptional' behaviour leads to sentence cut

Simon Evans Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption Evans has been a mentor to other prisoners and a listener for the Samaritans, the court heard

The "exceptional and unforeseen" behaviour of a teenage killer has led a judge to reduce his minimum jail term.

Simon Evans was ordered to serve a minimum of eight years after being convicted of murdering Kevin Bennett in Liverpool with two others in 2013.

London's High Court heard Evans, who was 14 at the time, had since become a "role model" for other prisoners.

Judge Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb said as a result, he could now apply for parole in February 2020.

Evans and brothers Connor and Brandon Doran, aged 17 and 14, attacked 53-year-old Keith Bennett as he slept outside a supermarket on 17 August 2012. He died in hospital six days later.

'Masses of compassion'

The High Court heard the now 19-year-old Evans, who also tried to get his minimum tariff reduced in 2017, had admitted delivering the first kick, but was not "the principal protagonist".

The judge was told that he had acted as a mentor to other prisoners, as a listener for the Samaritans and been the standard bearer for a prison Remembrance Day service in 2015.

Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption Kevin Bennett was attacked as he slept rough outside a supermarket in Liverpool in 2012

Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb said a psychiatrist had reported Evans was "gutted" about what he did and was described as "a polite and gentle boy who follows the rules" with "exemplary" behaviour.

A charity he worked with described him as having "masses of compassion", she said, adding that he wanted "to look ahead in his life, complete his education and become a sports teacher".

As a result, she said the "time has come" to mark Evans' "positive approach" and "willingness to take every possible step he can to achieve his long-term life goals without repeating the errors of his youth".

Connor Doran, labelled the "leader of the pack" by the judge, was sentenced to a minimum of 12 years and Brandon Doran received six years for acting as lookout during the attack.

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