Telford cricket bat murder: Boy, 16, convicted

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Image source, West Mercia Police/Family Handout
Image caption,
Derek Whyteside died after being assaulted as he looked for two stolen bikes

A 16-year-old boy who fractured a man's skull with a cricket bat has been found guilty of murder.

The teenager is said to have crept up behind Derek Whyteside in Telford, Shropshire, as he searched for two stolen children's bikes in June.

Mr Whyteside, 42, collapsed on the ground and died two days later.

The teenager, who cannot be named, had claimed he acted in self-defence but was found guilty by a jury at Stafford Crown Court by a unanimous verdict.

Mr Whyteside was looking in Withywood Drive, Malinslee, for children's bicycles which had been taken from outside his home earlier the same day.

Image source, Google Maps
Image caption,
The attack took place as Derek Whyteside searched for two children's bikes stolen from outside his house

"He was looking for two stolen bicycles and also he was looking for those responsible for stealing them," prosecutor Kevin Hegarty QC previously told the court.

"Whilst he was there, he was struck across the back of the head with a bat.

"The impact fractured his skull and the fracture extended into his right eye socket."

Mr Whyteside, of Chesterfield Road, Dawley, was given no chance to take any action to defend himself, to get away or to evade the blow, Mr Hegarty said.

His skull was further fractured as his head hit the ground.

He was then attacked by two men.

Knuckleduster

William Owens, 41, and Gareth Edward Owens, 39, both of Boulton Grange, Randlay, each admitted a charge of affray.

The jury had been told Mr Whyteside was seen carrying a knuckleduster and the boy claimed he had been in fear for his life.

West Mercia Police said the jury had dismissed the self-defence plea and agreed the boy acted with intent.

A sentencing date has yet to be set. However Judge Paul Glenn said a mandatory life sentence was "inevitable".

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