Shropshire

Telford boy Jimmy Owens detained for cricket bat murder

Jimmy Owens Image copyright West Mercia Police handout
Image caption Jimmy Owens aimed the bat at Derek Whyteside's head and used significant force, the court heard.

A boy who murdered a man with a cricket bat has been given a life sentence, and ordered to serve a minimum of 10 years.

Sixteen-year-old Jimmy Owens crept up behind Derek Whyteside, who was searching for his partner's children's stolen bikes in Malinslee, Telford.

Mr Whyteside, 42, suffered a fractured skull and died two days after the attack in June.

Judge Paul Glenn said Owens had "emerged from the bushes and struck him from behind with the bat".

Image copyright West Mercia Police/Family Handout
Image caption Derek Whyteside was struck from behind as he searched for stolen bikes

Mr Whyteside "had no chance to take evasive action," the judge said at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.

As he fell to the ground in Withywood Drive, the victim was attacked by two men, the offender's father, 41-year-old William Owens and uncle, 39-year-old Gareth Edward Owens.

'Like animals'

The pair, both of Boulton Grange, admitted a charge of affray at an earlier hearing. The judge called their actions "outrageous" and lifted an order preventing the naming of the teenager.

Photos taken of the victim after the attack were also condemned as "despicable".

Owens had claimed he was acting in self-defence after Mr Whyteside was seen carrying a knuckleduster, but was convicted of murder in November.

Mr Whyteside's partner Michelle Beddall said she was in a "living hell", and that the Owens family had "acted like animals".

"I hate what they have done to me and my kids" she said.

Image copyright Google Maps
Image caption The attack happened on Withywood Drive

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