A 17 year old boy has been jailed for life for murder after a 22 year old man was stabbed following a minor disagreement in a Bartley Green street.
West Midlands Police stress the dangers of carrying knives and urge local people to speak up to combat knives in our communities.
Alexander Leonard was killed after confronting Cameron Martin-Leon, then 16, who was behaving aggressively in Woodgate Gardens on the evening of 3rd July.
Witnesses said Martin-Leon had been bragging earlier about carrying a knife. And when Alex challenged Martin-Leon, who was drunk at the time, cutting his hand, the boy stabbed Alex in the chest.
Paramedics were unable to save Alex and he died in hospital.
Martin-Leon was arrested shortly after the incident when paramedics were called to his home in nearby Allwood Gardens.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment at Birmingham Crown Court today (Tuesday 23rd January). The judge ruled that he should serve a minimum term of at least 14 years and lifted reporting restrictions, allowing Martin-Leon to be named.
‘Tragic reminder of the dangers of carrying a knife’
Following this tragic case, West Midlands Police is warning of the dangers of carrying knives in public.
Detective Inspector Caroline Corfield, from the force’s Homicide Unit, said: “This case has been a tragic reminder of the dangers of anyone carrying a knife.
“This was a dreadful escalation of events which led to one young man losing his life while another faces a life sentence. Our thoughts are with their families whose lives are also devastated by these tragic events.”
Dreams & hearts broken
On behalf of all of Alex’s family and friends, his family reacted to the sentencing. A statement said: “Lives have been destroyed and families traumatised. Life as we knew it ceased to be on 3 July 2017. Two mothers have had their dreams and aspirations for their sons shattered and broken as are our hearts and the hearts of everyone who knew Alex.”
‘Culture of fear’
The statement said: “There currently seems to be an epidemic of knife crime sweeping through our communities, we are living within a culture of fear.
“Children are carrying knives through fear of what might happen or what has happened to them or a member of their families. Whatever the reason behind this epidemic, be it social, economic, ADHD, fear or pressure, it is clear that not enough is being done about it on a local level or a national level.’
The statement appeals directly to the government, saying: “Where is the government’s support for our police forces to support communities and those who try to make a better world?”
Community knife crime concerns
DI Corfield added: “We are working tirelessly to understand the reasons why young people carry knives. We work closely with schools and parents to educate, as we continue to bring offenders to justice. Anyone found in possession of a knife faces the real possibility of ending up behind bars.
“We understand people’s concerns around violent crime and the effect it can have on communities. While it makes up a very small proportion of overall crime, we appreciate the disproportionate impact it has on people’s quality of life and feelings of safety.
“If people do suspect someone is carrying a knife in public, or have any concerns relating to knife crime in their community, then we want to hear from them”
If you know someone who carries a knife or who you believe may be involved in knife crime in your community, please come forward and report.
You can report to West Midlands Police directly or contact your neighbourhood police team by calling 101. Check the police’s website for other ways to get in touch.
Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org
For more advice on knife crime and what you can do, check the West Midlands Police website
If you believe a crime is in progress or there is an imminent danger, please do not hesitate to call 999.
Our thoughts go out to Alex’s family and friends and all those affected by this tragic event. ❤️