‘Extremely dangerous’ teenager, 18, who stabbed father-of-two, 31, to death with a ‘combat dagger’ in the street after ‘exchange of words’ is jailed for life
- Teenage boy found guilty of murdering Christopher Hewett, 31, has been named
- Byron Eugene Pollock, now 18, stabbed father-of-two from behind several times
- ‘Brutal’ attack took place in Meadow Way, Stevenage, on February 12 this year
- Pollock was given a life sentence today after being found guilty of his murder
A teenage boy who stabbed to death a young father in the street was given a life sentence yesterday after being found guilty of his murder.
Byron Eugene Pollock was just 17 when he stabbed Christopher Hewett, 31, as he was walking to his sister’s home at night in February.
Robyn Hewett opened her front door to find her brother fatally injured and being held up by their cousin on the doorstep.
Having got Christopher into the house, he collapsed in a pool of blood and died in her arms.
The siblings and their cousins were meeting up that night because the death of their grandmother was imminent.
St Albans crown court was told yesterday 10 minutes after the grandmother was told of her grandson’s death, she too passed away.
Byron Eugene Pollock, now 18, (pictured) has been named as the teenager who was found guilty of murdering Hertfordshire father-of-two Christopher Hewett, 31, in February this year
In July Pollock and a 15-year-old boy went on trial accused of the murder of Mr Hewett on February 12 in Stevenage.
Pollock, now 18, was found guilty of the murder, while the 15-year-old – who had been armed with a baseball bat – was convicted of manslaughter.
At the time of the killing and the subsequent trial the press were prevented from naming both teenagers because of their ages.
But earlier this month while in custody awaiting sentencing, the older boy turned 18,
Following a request the press should now be allowed to name the teenager, Judge Michael Kay QC lifted the restriction that had granted the boy anonymity.
The 15-year-old boy who had taken part in the attack on Mr Hewett and his cousin should have been sentenced yesterday, but his barrister failed to turn up.
He will be sentenced next month.
Christopher Hewett, 31, (pictured) was attacked by teenagers on the evening of February 12 this year in Meadow Way, Stevenage, following an ‘exchange of words’ and was stabbed by Pollock several times from behind in a ‘brutal’ attack
Judge Michael Kay QC told Pollock, from Stevenage, and his 15-year-old co-defendant: ‘This is yet another shocking and tragic example of what can occur when young men carry knives.’
The judge told Pollock: ‘At the time you murdered Christopher Hewett you were 17. You have now turned 18.’
Judge Kay said he would sentence the teenager as someone who was 17 when he carried out the killing.
‘There is only one sentence in law for the charge of murder for someone aged 17 and that is detention at her Majesty’s pleasure which is the equivalent of a life sentence and that is the sentence I pass on you..’
The judge told Pollock the minimum term he would have to serve before he can be considered for release by the parole board is 19 years, less the time he has spent since February on remand.
A third defendant Ryan Lee, now 20, from Stevenage, was convicted by the jury at the trial of assisting offenders after he arranged for the other two to travel to Wakefield in West Yorkshire after the killing.
He was sentenced to two years and eight months after the judge heard that having granted him bail at the end of the trial so that he could be present for the birth of his baby son, he had been arrested just two weeks ago for carrying a knife.
The court heard how Mr Hewett, a young father who lived in Stevenage, and his cousin Terry Wales were making their way to Mr Hewett’s sister’s house when they passed a group of youths near some shops shortly after 9pm.
Prosecutor Paul Cavin QC said words were exchanged, with one accusing the victim of sending his mother ‘dodgy messages’.
Mr Hewett managed to stumble into his sister’s house in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, (street pictured) where he collapsed in the front room at 9.15pm and later died in hospital
Mr Calvin said Mr Hewett replied he did not know what they were talking about and walked on with his cousin.
‘As they approached the front door of 20 Meadow Way, the group was behind them,’ said the barrister.
He said the 15-year-old was holding a baseball bat and delivered a blow to Mr Wales’ elbow.
Mr Hewett received a blow from the bat and was grappling with the 15 year old, when the the Pollock came from behind and stabbed him.
Mr Hewett’s sister Robyn opened her front door to find him being cradled in the arms of his cousin on the doorstep.
Mr Wales helped Mr Hewett into the house and he told the jury: ‘I was holding Chris in my arms. I said to Robyn to ring an ambulance.
‘There was blood everywhere. I put as much pressure as I could on his ribs. The blood was coming through my fingers. He died in my arms.’
The two teenagers were arrested in a car on February 14 in Cambridgeshire having first made their way to Wakefield
At his trial the 15-year-old boy told the jury that following an exchange of words with Mr Hewett and his cousin, he had armed himself with a baseball bat.
A third person, Ryan Lee, aged 20, (pictured) of Wildwood Lane, Stevenage, was found guilty of assisting the offenders after driving the teenagers to Cambridgeshire following the murder
He said he had swung out at Mr Wales, but had not wanted to seriously hurt him and he had not intended to harm Mr Hewett or that anyone else should.
Mr Hewett, he said, then grabbed him in a headlock and he was unable to see what was happening as he was swung around.
‘The struggle had moved closer to the door with me being swung around and then Chris let go of me. He shouted that he had been stabbed.’
Asked by his barrister: ‘Did you have any idea why he was saying that?’ The boy replied: ‘No.’
He said it was as they were making off from the scene that the older teenager told him he had stabbed Mr Hewett and showed him a knife.
Pollock had told the jury at his trial he had stabbed Mr Hewett to get him to release the younger boy.
The youth went on: ‘I ran over and punched Chris. Terry hit me a couple of times. I was trying to get Chris off – that’s when I think I stabbed Chris.
‘I think I stabbed him two to three times. It was just to get him (the younger boy) out of the headlock. I didn’t mean to hurt him. ‘
His barrister Lewis Power QC asked: ‘Did you mean to kill him?’ He replied: ‘I panicked. I regret it so much.’
The court heard Mr Hewett and his partner had planned to get married in 2020, but Covid restrictions meant it was cancelled.
The couple had been hoping to rearrange the wedding when he was killed.
In a victim impact statement read out in court, his fiancée Clair Wellington said she had lost her ‘soul mate’ addeding: ‘He will never get to see me in my wedding dress.’
The court heard Pollock had a previous conviction for cause grievous bodily harm with intent when he stabbed a man from behind outside a pub in Stevenage in December 2018.
For that offence he received four years in a young offenders institute.
The judge told him: ‘The only view I can have if you is that you are an extremely dangerous young man.’
He said Mr Hewett and his cousin had had ‘the terrible misfortune’ to come across the defendants that night by the shops.
He said the boys been drinking and smoking cannabis and following the exchange of words, perceived wrongly that they had been shown disrespect by the older men and had ‘lost face in front of their friends.’
The judge said the knife Pollock was carrying that night could only be described as a ‘combat dagger’ and he said both the teenagers had approached the men from different directions for the attack.
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