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27 Sept 2022

Youngest member of mother’s ride-out gang locked up over killing of 17-year-old

Youngest member of mother’s ride-out gang locked up over killing of 17-year-old

The youngest member of a pack of youths who fatally stabbed a teenager after being driven to the scene by one of their mothers has been locked up for more than six years.

The boy was aged just 14 when he was recruited to join in on the revenge attack on 17-year-old Levi Ernest Morrison on April 10 last year.

The group of youths had been armed with three machetes and a knife when they chased Levi and his friend in Sydenham, south London.

The Old Bailey had heard how the immediate trigger was the appearance of a rival at Nichola Leighton’s home in the wake of a taunting video by her son Tyreese Ulysses and Alex Sprules.

Leighton “saw red” and told police that if the boys returned she was going to “batter them”, the court heard.

When Ulysses learned they were “bothering” his mother, he rallied friends armed with machetes, jurors had heard.

The youths jumped out of Leighton’s Suzuki jeep and chased Levi and one of his friends, jurors heard.

Levi was caught and fatally stabbed by Sprules while Ulysses and the 14-year-old chased the friend before running back when they heard a “dreadful scream”.

After the attack, which took just 30 seconds, the youths sprinted back to the waiting car and Leighton sped away.

Following a trial last year, mother-of-three Leighton, 37, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 23 years for murder.

Ulysses, 20, from Catford, was jailed for 13 years for manslaughter with a further five years on extended licence.

Sprules, 18, from Lewisham, was locked up for at least 20 years for murder and a 16-year-old boy, from Bromley, who had swung a machete at Levi causing him to trip over, was detained for life with a minimum of 16 years for murder.

The jury convicted the youngest defendant of having a knife but failed to reach a verdict on murder.

Ahead of his retrial at the Old Bailey, the boy, now aged 16, from Lewisham, south London, pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter.

On Friday, he was sentenced to six years and three months in custody with a further five years on extended licence.

Judge Peter Rook told him: “These offences including your offence of manslaughter are truly grave offences.

“They are a further example of knife crime which has become the scourge of some of our cities.

“From videos downloaded from mobile handsets and YouTube it is clear that this grave offence was committed in the context of gang rivalry.

“However petty the rivalry was between the groups of teenagers, it was characterised by the use of lethal weapons.”

The judge noted the devastating effect on Levi’s family, who described him as loyal and kind.

He also acknowledged the defendant, who aspired to be an actor and musician, had been identified as a victim of modern slavery and had suffered neglect in his childhood.

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