The heartbroken parents of a teenager who was stabbed to death have issued a warning to other families to monitor their children’s use of social media.
Kirsty and Michael Hall sat through the trial against the 16-year-old boy who stabbed their 17-year-old son, Josh Hall, six times after he allegedly met him to resolve their disagreements.
Gloucester Crown Court heard that the boy, then 15 years old, had “deafened” Josh on social media and that they had fallen over a girl.
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After a guilty verdict was handed down today (Wednesday, November 3), Josh’s family issued a statement.
They said: “While no verdict at all can lift the horrific acts of violence against Josh, we have deeply felt and appreciated the continued hard work carried out by all involved in the prosecution of this case.
“As Josh’s parents and the parents of Josh’s brother, we feel that all parents need to learn an urgent and desperate lesson in order to pay more attention to and get involved in their young people’s lives, especially on social media.
“In the same way, too many lives are being ruined by knives, with social media an aggravating factor.”
Josh was stabbed Friday, April 16 this year at Cam’s playgrounds and died a day later at the hospital despite desperate attempts to rescue him.
The court heard that the confrontation lasted a few minutes and his killer, who for legal reasons cannot be named, had started carrying a knife six weeks earlier to protect himself.
“The circumstances surrounding Josh’s stabbing are so deeply shocking – a small sleepy town in Gloucestershire, a sunny mid-afternoon in April and a young man carrying a butcher knife for months in advance,” the family said in a statement.
“Parents and communities cannot trust the authorities to provide a moral education to their children.”
Josh’s parents also talked about how they and his little brother Elijah had been robbed of the murder of the “naughty and compassionate” teenager who had a smile for everyone.
“Joshua was and will always be a source of light and beauty for our family. We will continue to share our pride that Josh spread love and helped people a lot, despite his youth,” they added.
‘Justice for Josh’
“We will continue to tell our youngest how amazing a person and brother Josh was.
“We would like to thank the Major Crime Team at Gloucestershire Constabulary as well as the Crown Prosecution Service. We will be eternally grateful for all they have done and the passion and commitment shown in getting justice for Josh.
“We would also like to thank the young witnesses who testified under intense scrutiny and chose to do the right thing. We are proud of you and our family thank you.”
The court heard during the trial how the accused and Josh had arranged to meet to “clarify their disagreements”, but the young man, who was 15 years old at the time, was armed with a knife.
He denied the killing and told the court that he was trying to “warn” Josh away with the knife and that he “did not intend to stab him”.
A jury took three hours and nine minutes to pass judgment, and the defendant broke down in tears and hugged his mother before being sent to the cells.
He will be convicted at a later date.
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