'Why didn't just one of you step in?' pleads grieving mum of boy, 13, lured to his death

·4 min read
Oliver Stephens, 13, known as Olly, was killed on 3 January in a field near his home (PA)
Oliver Stephens, 13, known as Olly, was killed on 3 January in a field near his home (PA)

The mother of a murdered schoolboy has begged to know why bystanders didn't step in to help her son as he lay dying after a knife attack.

Amanda and Stuart Stephens provided victim impact statements at the sentencing of their son Oliver's murderers.

Three teenagers were sentenced to more than 28 years in prison on Friday for their parts in the attack.

Oliver, known as Olly, was 13 when a girl lured him to a field near his home where he was stabbed to death by two former friends

Amanda Stephens said she was unable to understand why none of the teenagers present at the scene of the crime had tried to save her son.

At the sentencing of the three 14-year-olds convicted of his killing, Stephens said in her statement: “Why didn’t just one of them step in to stop it happening, why didn’t one care enough to stand up for him?

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Stuart and Amanda Stephens outside Reading Crown Court ahead of the sentencing of two 14-year-old boys who were found guilty of murdering their 13-year-old son Olly Stephens (swns)
Stuart and Amanda Stephens outside Reading Crown Court ahead of the sentencing of two 14-year-old boys who were found guilty of murdering their 13-year-old son Olly Stephens (swns)
CCTV image of Olly Stephens walking in Emmer Green (Thames Valley Police/PA)
CCTV image of Olly Stephens walking in Emmer Green on the day of his murder (Thames Valley Police/PA)

“Olly always stood up for the underdog, it got him into trouble, but that was just him.”

Dad Stuart told Reading Crown Court: “I had one job as a father, to protect my children, and I failed miserably – I will never forgive myself.”

“[Olly] didn’t deserve his fate no matter what he might have said or done, no child deserves such a callous fate.”

Olly, who had autism, was lured to a field in Emmer Green, Reading, by a female friend. He was then knifed to death by two boys who were lying in wait.

His father added: “We are strong enough to deal with most problems thrown our way but this has completely broken us.”

Watch: Hundreds line the streets for funeral of stabbed schoolboy Olly Stephens

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“Olly trusted people too much, it was part of his make-up, it was part of his autism – it was why we loved him.

“He knew no sense of danger, he stood up for himself in a confrontation and was unable to back down, but was kind and loving.”

Stephens described the “utterly horrific” moment he was told his son’s body was now forensic evidence, and that he would no longer be able to hold him or touch him.

Investigators at a forensic tent in Bugs Bottom field, Emmer Green, where Olly was killed (PA)
Investigators at a forensic tent in Bugs Bottom field, Emmer Green, where Olly was killed (PA)

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“Had he asked me for help that day, I would have moved heaven and earth to give it to him,” he said.

The two 14-year-old boys were found guilty of Olly's murder in July. The girl and the older of the teenage boys had both previously admitted manslaughter.

On Friday the older of the two boys was given a minimum prison sentence of 12 years, the younger boy was sentenced to a minimum of 13 years in prison.

One of the boys had admitted perverting the course of justice by disposing of clothing worn at the time of the killing, while the other admitted the same offence for deleting information from his mobile phone.

The girl was sentenced to three years and two months in prison for manslaughter.

The court heard both of the male attackers had “grievances” with Olly, while the girl was said to have described any violence against him as “karma” in the run-up to his death.

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His killers had fallen out with Olly because they believed he "grassed" on them to the brother of a boy they had mocked in a social media group chat, the trial heard.

In a statement issued through police after his death, Olly’s family described him as “an enigma” who “could get his own way with a wry smile and a cheeky grin”.

They added: “An Olly-sized hole has been left in our hearts.”

The younger boy, who was 13 at the time, used a knife to stab Olly while the older boy was fighting with him, the court heard.

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