A teenage boy was today found guilty of murder after viciously stabbing a rival to death to settle a long-standing feud between them, a court heard.
Jurors were told that what started as a ‘petty, adolescent grudge’ ended in murder when the 16-year-old stabbed Humza Hussain, also 16, to death outside Challney High School for Boys in Luton.
Ill feeling had been festering for some months between the pair when the teenager stabbed Humza three times in the chest on an afternoon in June of this year.
During the trial which began earlier this month, the killing was described by the prosecution as a revenge attack that took place in broad daylight in a busy street.
Today at Luton Crown Court the teenage defendant, who cannot be identified because of his age, was found guilty of murder and told he should expect a life sentence.
He was also found guilty of a charge of having an article with a blade or point.
The jury took two hours and 20 minutes to reach their unanimous verdicts which were announced in court this afternoon,
Trial Judge Mr Justice Goss will sentence the teenager tomorrow at the same court.
Thanking the members of the jury for their work, he told them the defendant would receive a ‘life sentence’ but he would have to determine the minimum term the boy must serve before he can be considered eligible for release.
During the trial, prosecutors told the jury how 16-year-old Humza Hussain was stabbed three times in the chest in the attack.
Prosecutor Richard Wright QC told how members of the public, paramedics, teachers and staff from Challney High School for Boys all intervened after Humza had been stabbed, which happened between half past three and a quarter to four in the afternoon.
The victim was taken to hospital where he died shortly after 6pm that evening.
Mr Wright said: ‘They were devastating and ultimately unsurvivable injuries. There is no doubt Humza was killed by the defendant. He was using a large and savage-looking knife he had hidden in his clothing.’
He went on: ‘The dispute between them (Humza and the defendant) had been festering for some time.
‘There was mutual animosity that developed. It is not easily identified and may relate to insults on social media. It may have begun as a petty, adolescent grudge that developed.’
The jury was played CCTV footage from the school which recorded a playground fight behind some goalposts eight months earlier.
The prosecutor said on one side was Humza Hussain and some of his friends and on the other was the
As a result of the fight, Humza and a friend were permanently excluded and the defendant was moved to another school.
‘From this point on, the defendant was determined to exact some sort of revenge on Humza Hussain and his friend,’ said Mr Wright.
On the day of the killing the defendant was outside Challney School for Boys on a bike where he was seen intimidating the 14-year-old brother of one of Humza’s friends.
The younger boy saw a knife in his trousers and refused to go with the defendant into an alleyway.
Teachers challenged the defendant, who said he was looking for a cousin. The 14-year-old boy was taken back into school.
The boy made a call to his older brother, who turned up outside at the school with Humza.
They had both arrived on bikes and both armed themselves – Humza brought with him a metal file from his father’s shed while the other boy had a small hammer, the court heard.
Mr Wright said: ‘The stabbing was witnessed by many members of the public. It was a fast-moving event.’
The older brother was said to have thrown the head of the hammer at the defendant, who drew out his knife.
At that point Humza grabbed the defendant from behind in an attempt to restrain him.
‘After he broke free he lunged at Humza Hussain and stabbed him repeatedly to his chest,’ said Mr Wright.
The defendant was later arrested at his home in Luton.
During the trial, lawyers for the defendant had argued that he acted in self-defence but jurors found him guilty of murder and he is due to be sentenced tomorrow.
In a tribute shared after the attack, Humza’s family said he was ‘a much-loved son, grandson and brother’ who had his whole life ahead of him and described his death as ‘a very sad loss’.
Det Insp Iain MacPherson, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, which led the investigation, said: ‘This tragic and needless killing will have caused untold trauma for everyone involved.
‘Our sympathy particularly lies with Humza’s family today. His life has been cut short in truly devastating circumstances at such a tender age. It is suffering no family should ever have to go through.
‘I hope they feel a sense of justice today. Our detectives have worked around the clock to get to this stage and I would like to thank each and every one of them for their work.
‘I would also like to acknowledge those members of the public who went to the aid of Humza and the heroic efforts of medical professionals who attempted to save his life.’