'Leave the knives at home': Top judge pleads with Northampton's teenagers to turn their backs on violent crime
A top judge has urged Northamptonshire's teenagersÂ to turn their backs on the violent cultures they may be in and leave theirÂ knives inÂ the kitchen drawer.
His Honour Judge Rupert Mayo made the appeal to the youths the county as he sentenced five young men for killing Northampton teenager Liam Hunt on Wednesday (June 28).
The 17-year-old was murdered on February 14, 2017, by Kane Allaban-Hamilton - pictured - who stabbed Liam in the neck from behind and inflicted a seven-centimetre wound. It was described in court as "just short of an execution".
Judge Mayo, who sat on the 13-week trial, used his sentencing to plead with teenagers to step back from the violent culture he had seen in the case.
He told the court: "The late afternoon of February 14 [when Liam was killed] is a stain on the town of Northampton.
"During the course of the trial, the jury was exposed to a culture where knives are carried by young males like they were mobile phones.
"It was a tragedy for Liam and the loss and grief cannot be put into words.
"Nothing this court can do can bring Liam back. The best it can do is hope that the young people of Northamptonshire pause, reflect and remove the knife they may have carried before leaving home."
Kane Allaban-Hamilton, 18, and four other young men, who were found guilty of manslaughter, were jailed for a total of more than 36 years for the killing.
But the court also heard that victim Liam Hunt had to be disarmed of a knife by his girlfriend before he left the house minutes before he was stabbed. The judge also ruled that one of Liam's friends was carrying a knife, but did not produce it in the fight.
Judge Mayo said: "This was not a case involving gangs. It was about normal immature boys who carry knives. All this involved operating in a culture where even the slightest perceived threat or insult is met with further threats and challenges.
"The most chilling aspect for me as trial judge was the desensitised manner the defendants responded after the killing. The traumatic and ghastly death would have been seen by all the defendants... but when they regrouped in McDonald's, they were not fulll of shame or concern but excited and pumped up to discuss what had just happened."
It comes after Louis-Ryan Menezes, 17, from Rushden was stabbed to death in Northampton in May. A 16-year-old boy has pleaded not guilty to his murder.