Teen found guilty of murdering Haverhill schoolboy Harley Barfield
A 16-year-old boy has been found guilty of murdering Haverhill schoolboy Harley Barfield.
The jury returned its verdict at 3.50pm today at Ipswich Crown Court after five days of deliberation.
There were emotional scenes in the public gallery as the majority verdict of ten to two was delivered.
Mr Justice Thomas Linden described the case as one in which there would be ‘no winners’.
He thanked family and friends of those involved for their ‘dignity and humanity’ during the trial and the jury for returning a verdict after a ‘sad and difficult case in which the stakes were very high’.
Harley Barfield, 16, had been stabbed by the youth during an altercation in the Strasbourg Square car park in Haverhill on January 9.
During the trial it was revealed that Harley, 16, had suffered three stab wounds, four puncture wounds and five incised wounds.
One of the wounds punctured his heart and the resulting loss of blood caused multiple organ failure. Harley died on January 11 at the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge.
The trial had heard that Harley and his attacker, who cannot be named due to legal reasons, had a long-running dispute over a girl, the bitter nature of which ultimately led to the fateful confrontation.
Part of the feud was due to the defendant being accused by Harley of stalking the girl.
The defendant had claimed that he never meant to kill Harley, but prior to the murder trial had already admitted to manslaughter and possession of a bladed item in a public place.
During the trial Dr Emma Went and Dr Richard Church, two psychiatrists that examined the defendant, had given their assessment of his state of mind at the time of the attack.
They both agreed that he has autism, that he suffered from anxiety and depression as a result of breaking up with his girlfriend and that he displayed some signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and trauma as a result of regularly being bullied and being subjected to numerous assaults.
Dr Went had said these were a “significant factor in causing his behaviour at that particular time.”
But Dr Church thought differently, as was outlined during the summing up evidence by the judge, Mr Justice Thomas Linden, who said: “Dr Church fundamentally disagreed with Dr Went’s views, because unfortunately the view was so out of keeping with the evidence and relied on taking (the defendant’s) account of the evidence and it fell down very quickly.”
The 16-year-old defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will be sentenced on December 19, following reports.