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Boy, 15, who murdered 14-year-old in Gateshead named for first time after conviction | UK | News

Amies has been convicted of murder (Image: Northumbria Police)

Leighton Amies has been named after being convicted of murdering a 14-year-old schoolboy. Amies, 15, had gone out with a knife as he got into a confrontation with a group of teens at a nature reserve in Gateshead. He used the blade to stab Tomasz Oleszak to death. He had denied murder, claiming he was acting in self-defence after coming under attack. The young killer, of Stuart Terace, Felling, faces time in custody before being sentenced in June.

Amies was found guilty of murdering Tomasz and attempting to cause grievious bodily harm with intent on another boy by jurors at Newcastle Crown Court.

After his conviction, trial judge Mr Justice Spencer lifted a reporting restiction banning publication of his identity.

Despite pleas by his defence team and the youth offending team that he should remain anonymous, the judge ruled that the public interest in him being named outweighted Amies’ interests in having his name withheld in media reports.

Mr Justice Spencer said: “The public interest in knowing the identity of a defendant who is convicted of murder, particularly in this case, of a 14-year-old in a public park, in those circumstances and knowing the press interest which was generated at the time of Tomasz’s death, it seems to me the public interest now outweighs Leighton’s interests.


Tomasz died from stab wounds (Image: Northumbria Police)

“There is a public interest in trying to deflect young people from the carrying of knives where, when that happens, this kind of utterly tragic outcome can occur.”

Tomasz had only just joined a group of friends after bumping into them at Whitehills Nature park, near Aycliffe Crescent, Gateshead, one night last October.

There had been a clash between Tomasz’s friends and CCTV showed them following Amies and a girl he was with.

Amies was then approached by the group before knifing Tomasz in the chest and swinging the blade at another boy.

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Mark McKone KC, prosecuting, told jurors during the trial: “On the 3rd of October the defendant left home armed with a knife. He got into a confrontation with some youths in a park over something trivial. It seems the defendant said something to the youths and or gave them a dirty look, although this was before Tomasz arrived at the park.

“The prosecution accept someone had said they were going to hit the defendant and some people in the group had approached the defendant before the stabbing.”

He added: “You will hear important evidence about what the defendant did afterwards, including telling (someone) that he had stabbed someone – and seeming pleased about it – and burying the knife in (his) presence.”

The boy who Amies tried to injure after stabbing Tomasz told how he and his friends were walking along when a “guy shouted something towards us”. Mr McKone said: “This shout by the defendant appears to be the start of the trouble.”

The boy who Amies tried to injure after stabbing Tomasz told how he and his friends were walking along when a “guy shouted something towards us”. Mr McKone said: “This shout by the defendant appears to be the start of the trouble.”

The witness said Tomasz asked what Amies had said and he didn’t reply so Tomasz got closer to him to try to get him to say what he had said again. He added: “That’s when he turned around, took the knife from a pocket around his chest and swung for Tom.”

Mr McKone said: “The witness confirmed he could not actually see the knife because it was dark. (The witness) said: ‘I was gonna jump in for Tom, but as soon as he hit Tom he turned and tried to swing for me but I jumped back and he only got my coat’. He said his coat was ripped in the heart area.”

Another youth said said he heard Amies shout “I’m gonna wet you”, which, the court heard, is slang for “I’m gonna stab you”. Mr McKone said: “The prosecution say that the phrase ‘I’m gonna wet you’ is the phrase of someone wanting to stab someone and not the words of someone reluctantly acting in self-defence.

Another boy said said “it all started when this kid gave a dirty look in the park”. He didn’t see the stabbing but heard someone shout “your boy’s been wetted”.

Mr McKone said another lad said Amies walked past them and gave his friend a dirty look and his friend wasn’t happy about it so they started following him. At that point they saw Tomasz walking home from him being out with his other mates and he joined them.


Amies denied stabbing Tomasz (Image: Northumbria Police)

The witness said: “I think they were going to go hit the kid. And the kid’s turned around and I don’t know what he used because it was too dark for us to see, I seen a few shadows, like, collide together, and I heard, “Your boy’s been wetted,” which means your boy’s been stabbed. And then at that point everyone start running away because we knew he had a knife.”

Another youth said some boys, including Tomasz, went up to Amies then he saw someone fall to the floor. He added: “So we all ran away because (the defendant) shouted “sorry your friend’s just been stabbed, you better run”.

After the stabbing, Amies sent Facebook messages in which he denied he had been carrying a knife and denied stabbing anyone, writing “I don’t carry knives in general…why the f*** would I run to weapons”. He also said: “if anyone messages you say nothing don’t say what’s apparently happened”. He told someone else he had been in Blyth all day.

Mr McKone said: “The prosecution say the defendant was taking steps, including in with his messages, to distance himself from the stabbing which he accepts now he carried out.”

A youth told police the defendant phoned him after the stabbing and asked him to meet him and it was “clearly urgent”, jurors heard. The defendant is accused of telling the witness he had stabbed someone other than Tomasz.


Tomasz had met a group of friends at the park (Image: Northumbria Police)

(The witness) said: “He was bouncing all over…he seemed happy that he had done it…he looked like himself…it didn’t faze him at all.”

Mr McKone said: “The prosecution also say that his happy mood afterwards undermines the defence of self-defence.” He added: “The defendant had the knife in his body warmer pocket. The defendant asked where he could hide the knife. He took the defendant to a location and the defendant dug a hole and buried the knife.

Tomasz died from a single stab wound to his chest, which was 8cm deep and 4.5cm wide. The knife completely severed the cartilage of his third rib on the right and went into his aorta. He would have collapsed rapidly from blood loss. Tomasz suffered a wound across his left index finger causing a flap of skin. This was probably caused when Tomasz tried to defend himself from the knife.

He also had a bruise on the inside of his right arm, probably caused by gripping and a bruise on the back of his right forearm which could have been caused by gripping or contact with the ground.

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