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17 year old London youth to serve life with minimum of 16 years for murder of James Hunter in Sydenham

18 year old James Hunter who died bravely trying to protect his best friend who from a brutal stabbing. Image: Met Police

18 year old James Hunter who died bravely trying to protect his best friend who from a brutal stabbing. Image: Met Police

Five boys have been given custodial sentences for their part in the murder of a teenager who was killed trying to protect his friend in a vicious knife attack outside a chicken shop in Sydenham.

18 year old James Hunter  died in Wells Park Road Sydenham on 31st May 2014 after being stabbed in the heart by one of a group of five boys who’d attacked and stabbed his 17-year-old friend Ezekiel Andrews.

Old Bailey judge Rebecca Poulet QC lifted the reporting restrictions on the defendants.

17 year old Giovanni Dixon from Sandown Road, SE25, was found guilty of murder and of wounding Ezekiel.

17 year old Giovanni Dixon was only 16 when he stabbed James Hunter to death. Image: Met Police

17 year old Giovanni Dixon was only 16 when he stabbed James Hunter to death. Image: Met Police

He was sentenced to life imprisonment and will serve a minimum of 16 years. Three others were previously found guilty of wounding with intent. A fourth youth was convicted of encouraging the attack.

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The court heard Dixon that ‘gleefully’ bragged about the stabbing.

Judge Poulet said all the boys demonstrated ‘a preoccupation almost bordering on obsession with knives.’

She told Dixon:

You had trained as a boxer and could have thrown down the knife, you could have used your fists, but you did not.

Detective Inspector Donna Convery, who led the investigation, said:

This was a brutal attack on an innocent young man who was only trying to protect another from being attacked.

James had everything to live for and his whole life ahead of him.

I hope today’s sentencing goes some way to help James’s family move on from their tragic loss and serve as a warning to any young people who carry weapons and use weapons as part of a group.

James Hunter’s mother, who was praised by the judge for her quiet dignity throughout the trial, said:

James had been accepted onto an accountancy course at Bromley College and was due to start in the September. He had also been accepted onto a construction course with the Princes Trust. He attained a BTEC, Level 2 in Information Technology and personal finance.

The tragic truth behind this story is that so many families have been destroyed by senseless violence and thoughtless actions. I believe that justice has been served to the extent of the Judge’s powers, but nothing will ever bring James back to us and the sentences regarding knife crime should be reviewed.

James Hunter’s father said:

I would like to thank all the police officers without whose hard work these convictions would not have been possible. I would like to make special mention and thanks to our family liaison officer D.C. Neil Maude who has seen us through this horrific experience.

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