NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Bailey Gwynne case: Boy, 16, guilty of killing fellow pupil

Bailey Gwynne Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Bailey Gwynne suffered a stab wound to the heart

A teenager who stabbed a 16-year-old to death in an Aberdeen school has been found guilty of culpable homicide.

Bailey Gwynne died after being stabbed in the heart at Cults Academy last October.

The 16-year-old accused, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had denied murder.

The jury at the High Court in Aberdeen took an hour and 40 minutes to find him guilty of the lesser charge. Sentence was deferred until 1 April.

Judge Lady Stacey told the accused he would be sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh and would be given a custodial sentence.

The youth was also found guilty of two further charges of having a knife and knuckleduster in school.

Following the verdict, it was announced that an independent investigation is to be held into the circumstances that led to Bailey's death.

It emerged during evidence that the teenager had a major loss of blood after suffering a single stab wound during a fight.

He was in a corridor with a group of boys and made a remark about one of them getting fatter after refusing him a second biscuit.

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Media captionBailey's killer attacked another child with rocks nine years ago

In accounts given by witnesses, the jury heard that Bailey turned round and squared up to the accused after he made a comment about his mother.

They were both said to have thrown punches and two onlookers said Bailey had the accused in a headlock before the knife was pulled out.

A witness said of Bailey's reaction: "I found it really shocking - he's really shy and he's known not to fight back."

The knife which killed Bailey was found later in a rubbish bin at the school.

'Massive impact'

Det Supt David McLaren, of Police Scotland, said: "The death of Bailey Gwynne has had a massive impact on his family, friends, fellow pupils and staff at Cults Academy. The details of this case have caused shock within the local community and further afield across the whole of the country.

"The investigation into Bailey's death involved officers from the local policing division and from national specialist units. Whilst the circumstances around Bailey being killed are relatively uncomplicated, it is still difficult to comprehend that he died at school at the hands of a fellow school pupil.

Image copyright Crown Office Production
Image caption A search of bins at the school uncovered the knife used in the fight

"It is the senseless decision to take a knife into a school setting that has undoubtedly led to Bailey's death. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank those pupils and teachers who tried their very best to save Bailey's life but as we have heard during the trial, he was beyond saving.

He added: "Those teachers and pupils have shown incredible strength over the last week whilst giving evidence during this trial.

"Finally, I'd like to pay tribute to Bailey's family. Today won't bring their son back, the pain of not having Bailey around will last for a very long time.

"Throughout their ordeal they have conducted themselves with the upmost dignity and are a credit to themselves as a family."

Lethal weapon

Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC, prosecuting, told the jury during his closing speech at the High Court in Aberdeen: "Bailey Gwynne had no chance."

He said: "This was a lethal wound inflicted by a lethal weapon."

Defence counsel Ian Duguid QC said the jury was dealing with a "spontaneous event" which lasted about 30 seconds.

Mr Duguid said the accused had shown "extraordinary stupidity" but suggested Bailey Gwynne had shown "recklessness" in assaulting a fellow pupil.

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Media captionGayle Gorman, of Aberdeen City Council, said: "It's still hard to make sense of Bailey's death"

The trial heard that a laptop used by the killer had revealed an internet search for "how to get rid of someone annoying".

Forensic computer analyst Charles Bruce told the High Court in Aberdeen that "difference between a homicide and a murder" was also searched.

He said an internet address relating to a YouTube video of "14-year-old Bronx student stabs bully to death outside school" was also found.

A joint minute of agreement on the third day of the trial stated that the laptop used by the accused was handed over to police by his father the day after Bailey's death.

Under cross examination by Mr Duguid, Mr Bruce said he did not know what results the searches brought up.

Mr Duguid suggested the "how to get rid of someone annoying" search brought up a page about how to get rid of annoying friends - with responses such as "stop speaking".

Mr Bruce said he had not seen the page.

Emotional impact

Aberdeen City Council's director of education Gayle Gorman said: "This has been a devastating incident for the families affected, Cults Academy, its staff and pupils, and for all of us who watched and listened in disbelief, as we became aware of the details behind this tragedy.

"There are no words which can sum up for us, the emotional impact of what happened last year, and it is still hard to make any sense of Bailey's death.

"We should remember that at the heart of this were two children and there can be no greater tragedy than the untimely death of a young person."

Ms Gorman added: "Bailey Gwynne should never have died in this way. He was a 16-year-old boy with his whole life in front of him. We will not forget him.

Following the conclusion of the case, it was announced the principal public agencies would commission an independent review.

The review will be chaired by "an independent expert" who will also help shape the reporting timescale and terms of reference.

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