A 17-year-old who stabbed a Wellingborough teenager to death and left his companion with a serious stab wound has been found guilty of manslaughter.
Dylan Holliday, 16, was stabbed 13 times as he ‘chilled and relaxed’ with his best friend in the A509 underpass near Shelley Road, on the Queensway estate, on August 5, 2021.
The killer, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claimed he had stabbed Dylan in self-defence - the jury of five men and five women at Coventry Crown Court found him guilty of manslaughter but not murder.
He was found not guilty of attempted murder and causing GBH with intent, but found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm (GBH) to Dylan’s friend and carrying a knife.
His co-defendant, also aged 17, and who also cannot be named for legal reasons, was charged under joint enterprise but was found not guilty for Dylan’s murder and manslaughter, attempted murder of Dylan’s friend and causing GBH with intent.
However, he was found guilty of inflicting GBH and carrying a knife.
The trial heard that Dylan and his friend were smoking cannabis, listening to music and ‘chilling and relaxing’ at about 6pm, on August 5, 2021, when the two defendants rode up on bikes they had borrowed from friends who had been smoking crack in bushes near Glamis Hall.
Seeing that two teenagers wearing face coverings, hats, gloves, coats and masks were on their way, a third boy ran off.
After making demands, Dylan and the defendant squared-up to each other - his 16-year-old friend facing the other boy – and a fight began. Defenceless and with his dominant right arm in a plaster cast – from a injury sustained in a car crash – Dylan swung at his assailant.
The killer, who had admitted to the court to carrying a knife from the age of 13, pulled out a blade concealed in the waistband of his jogging bottoms and after taking its protective sheath off, stabbed Dylan 13 times in what he said was self-defence. He then turned on Dylan’s 16-year-old companion and stabbed him in his side.
Dylan’s right ventricle had been pierced with the 12.3cm-long blade owned by the defendant – sustaining a fatal 9cm-deep wound to his heart.
His friend suffered a punctured lung from the murder weapon.
Despite his injury Dylan was able to run from the scene, but collapsed close by and raising the alarm he called 999 saying he had been stabbed by a ‘Rambo’ knife.
He told the call handler that he thought he was dying. Nine minutes after the initial call the line went quiet – six minutes later he was found in knee-length grass by a police officer called to the incident.
Paramedics quickly followed and attempted CPR. He was pronounced dead at Northampton General Hospital at 7.40pm that evening.
Taking Dylan’s pushbike and one they had borrowed the 17-year-old assailants went to a nearby shop and then split up.
Both the defendants were quickly picked by police, who reportedly caught the killer hiding in a house in the early hours of August 6 after a relative reported him missing.
Police also found the knife used, which had the DNA of both Dylan and his other wounded friend on it.
The court had heard that the defendants had denied being the aggressors and that were looking to buy drugs from Dylan. He had only pulled out his knife when he lost control after being attacked.
The public gallery was quiet except for the word ‘disgusting’ when the foreman read the not guilty verdicts for the murder charges.
Dylan’s mum Dee Walsh was in court to hear the verdicts.
Paying tribute to her son last year she said: “He was the best son, brother, cousin and friend we could have asked for.
“He will forever be in our hearts and the memories of his life will stay with us forever.”
The court heard the killer, who had links to a notorious Wellingborough drug gang ‘TRU’, has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder - he was disorganised and impulsive and had trouble sustaining attention. But consultant psychiatrist Dr Richard Church said the 17-year-old was not suffering from post traumatic stress disorder but had flashbacks to violent incidents from his past.
Benjamin Aina QC, defending, argued that his defendant, the boy who had used the knife, ‘responded defensively to keep Dylan Holliday away.’
Mr Aina admitted that his client was ‘no angel’ and had carried a knife since he was 13 to defend himself but that ‘he never used it once’.
He said: “In relation to other convictions he always pleaded guilty.”
Senior investigating officer, Detective Superintendent Joe Banfield, said: “There are no winners on days like this. While I’m pleased that the jury has found one of the 17-year-old’s guilty of manslaughter and that justice has been served in the eyes of the law, it won’t bring Dylan back and I know that his family continue to mourn his loss every single day.
“By bringing a knife to the scene – a young boy with his whole life ahead of him was killed - and sadly, this case is a tragic example of the dangerous consequences of carrying a knife.
“Dylan’s tragic death has had a huge impact on many people, which is why knife crime remains a matter of priority for the force and we will continue to work relentlessly to remove these potentially deadly weapons from our streets.”