Teenager Guilty Of Killing Bailey Gwynne
7 March 2016, 14:56
A teenager has been found guilty of killing a school pupil he stabbed during a fight.
Bailey Gwynne, 16, died from a knife wound to the chest at Cults Academy in Aberdeen on October 28 last year.
A 16-year-old youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was convicted of culpable homicide after a jury ruled against a charge of murder at the city's High Court.
The youth had admitted stabbing Bailey but denied murder during the five-day trial.
During evidence, it emerged Bailey had a major loss of blood after suffering a single fatal stab wound to the heart during a fight.
The court heard that on the day he was stabbed, Bailey had missed out on a lunchtime trip to the local supermarket as his friends forgot to tell him about the plan.
He was in a corridor with a group of boys and, after refusing a second biscuit to one, made a remark about him getting fatter.
Accounts of the fight differed between witnesses but the jury heard that Bailey, who was on his way out of the corridor, turned round and squared up to the accused after he made a comment about his mother.
They both were said to have thrown punches and two onlookers said Bailey had him in a headlock before he pulled out a knife.
A witness said of Bailey's reaction: "I found it really shocking - he's really shy and he's known not to fight back.''
Head teacher Anna Muirhead, who was alerted to the fight after an ambulance had been called, said: "I knew immediately it was very, very serious.''
A post-mortem examination revealed he died as the result of a "penetrating stab-force injury to the chest'' which went directly into the heart. Pathologists described the wound as "exceptionally dangerous''.
The teenager who carried out the stabbing told police as he was handcuffed "it was just a moment of anger''.
He later told officers: "I didn't mean to but I stabbed him.''
The trial also heard that a laptop used by the teenager had revealed an internet search for "how to get rid of someone annoying''.
The search term "difference between a homicide and a murder'' was also noted, as was a web address relating to a YouTube video with the title "14-year-old Bronx student stabs bully to death outside school''.
The jury heard how earlier from a friend of the accused that he had shown him a knife a day or two before the fatal incident and "thought it was something cool to have''.
Emotions were high during the trial which saw a teenage witness break down as he gave details of the fight and the accused himself started crying when the jury heard how he was handcuffed by police who attended the school.
It took the jury about one hour and 40 minutes to return their majority verdict.
There was audible sobbing in court after the verdict was delivered and the court was told two families had been destroyed by October's events.
Judge Lady Stacey said the teenager would be held in custody and deferred sentence to April 1 at the High Court in Edinburgh.
Detective Superintendent David McLaren, lead officer for the north area of Police Scotland's major investigation team, thanked the pupils and staff at Cults Academy who tried to save Bailey.
He said: "The death of Bailey Gwynne has had a massive impact on his family, friends, fellow pupils and staff at Cults Academy.
"The details of the case have caused shock within the local community and further afield across the whole of the country.
"I'd like to take this opportunity to thank those pupils and teachers who tried their very best to save Bailey's life but, as we have heard during the trial, there was nothing anyone could have done to save him.
"Those teachers and pupils have shown incredible strength over the last week whilst giving evidence during the trial.
"Finally, I'd like to pay tribute to Bailey's family. Today won't bring their son back, the pain of not having Bailey around will last for a very long time.
"Throughout their ordeal they have conducted themselves with the utmost dignity and are a credit to themselves as a family.''
Gayle Gorman, director of education and childrens' services at Aberdeen City Council, said: "There are no words which can sum up for us, the emotional impact of what happened last year, and it is still hard to make any sense of Bailey's death.
"We should remember that at the heart of this were two children and there can be no greater tragedy than the untimely death of a young person.
"I would like to pay tribute to head teacher Anna Muirhead and all her staff. I'd also like to thank all the pupils involved, especially those who were called to the High Court in Aberdeen last week.
"Bailey Gwynne should never have died in this way. He was a 16-year-old boy with his whole life in front of him. We will not forget him.
"The trial may have ended but for those involved, the process of moving forward now begins. We will try and do that, while all the time, remembering Bailey as one of us.''
Aberdeen City Council is now to hold a review of Bailey's death to "identify any lessons that can be learnt to inform future practice''.
Police Scotland, the Children's Reporter and NHS Grampian will also be involved in the review, which will be chaired by a soon-to-be appointed independent expert who will decide the reporting timescale and terms of reference.
A council spokesman said: "Following the tragic death at Cults Academy in October 2015 and the conclusion of the trial in the High Court in Aberdeen today, the principal public agencies with an interest in the issues raised by the case announce their intention to commission an independent review.
"Given the issues raised by the case the agencies together wish to identify any lessons that can be learnt to inform future practice.
"In the immediate aftermath, the multi-agency partnership's priority was the care and support of those impacted by the incident.
"The intention to conduct an independent review was discussed shortly afterwards but now that the trial has con