Ben Kinsella killers jailed for life at Old Bailey

Londoners Juress Kika, Jade Braithwaite, and Michael Alleyne each sentenced to a minimum of 19 years for murder of schoolboy Ben Kinsella

12 June 2009

THE killers of 16-year-old Ben Kinsella were jailed for life today as the court heard they would be 'marked men' behind bars.

Juress Kika, 19, Jade Braithwaite, 18, and Michael Alleyne, 20, from London, were told they would have to serve minimum terms of 19 years each.

Old Bailey judge, the Common Serjeant of London Brian Barker, told them: "Your blind and heartless anger that night defies belief.

"Ben had in front of him a lifetime of promise. You have taken all that away from him in a brutal, cowardly and totally unjustified attack."

Ben's sister, former EastEnders actress Brooke Kinsella, 25, said following the sentencing: "It's good enough but it is little more than Ben lived, so it is not really enough."

There was loud cheering and shouts of "bye bye" from the public gallery where dozens of Ben's friends and family gathered as the killers were taken down.

Kika and Alleyne both turned and jeered, making gestures towards them.

Members of the defendants' families exchanged angry words with Ben's friends and relatives in the public gallery before they were led out.

Lawyers for the defendants told the judge that the killers had been served with letters from the prison authorities following fears of retaliation.

The letters, asking inmates to discuss any fears or incidents, are given to prisoners who are likely to be targets of retribution.

Prisoners with fears could be placed in solitary confinement for their own safety.

Nerida Harford-Bell, defending Braithwaite, said: "Jade Braithwaite understands he is a marked man."

She said Braithwaite's mother, grandmother and aunt had either moved or were in the process of moving homes.

Sallie Bennett-Jenkins QC, for Alleyne, said he had also been served with a letter, adding: "It is an unusual step."

James Nichol, solicitor advocate for Kika, said of his letter: "It is being taken seriously."

The defendants were convicted of murder yesterday. They will serve their life sentences, beginning with youth custody until they are 21.

After the verdicts, Ben's father, George, 49, branded the killers "animals" and said knife crime was now "embedded in the heart" of British life.

Ben and his friends had been to a bar to celebrate the end of their GCSE exams when a row broke out in Islington, north London, on June 29 last year.

Although the confrontation had nothing to do with him, he was chased along the street with other youngsters - and stabbed to death when he stopped running.

Ben was stabbed 11 times in five seconds by the three youths in revenge for the "disrespect" shown to Braithwaite earlier.

Kika had been on the run from police for 10 days following a robbery in which a man was knifed on June 19.

Three other youths were arrested but despite extensive searches and inquiries, Kika was not found until he was arrested for Ben's murder at a flat in Chadwell Heath, east London, on June 30.

The 21-year-old victim, who appeared to have been involved in a row about drugs, refused to press charges.

Alleyne was being supervised by the local youth offending team as part of an 18-month detention and training order for drug dealing.

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He had been released three months earlier after serving half the sentence in a detention centre.

Braithwaite was given a community order for an attempted robbery in 2007.

Judge Barker said: "The background is depressing and all too familiar in these courts. It reflects the futility of carrying and using knives by some young people.

"Your behaviour generates outrage in all right-minded people and your blind and heartless anger defies belief."

The judge said there was "no possible excuse" for what happened.

"I can only deduce that in your minds someone had to pay the ultimate price, whoever that might be.

"What you have done has caused untold anguish," he said.

He added: "This was an arrogant and unfeeling attack on someone who had done nothing."

He said he had been moved by the statement of Ben's mother Deborah yesterday, in which she had described how her family was dealing with the "nightmare" they had suffered.

He added: "They will never get over it and he will never be forgotten."

Outside court, family friend Linda Robson, star of Birds of a Feather, said of the sentence: "We just hope it will be a deterrent to other kids. Everyone is really relieved it is over."

Earlier, Barry and Margaret Mizen, the parents of murdered 16-year-old Jimmy Mizen, appealed for families of victims to come together because they "have an automatic bond".

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