Teenager arrested for murder of 17-year-old boy

A teenager has been held for life after being found guilty of murdering a 17-year-old boy in a confrontation that lasted just two minutes.

Harley Demmon, 16, killed Josh Hall after arranging to meet him to “settle their difference”.

There had been some hostility between the two teenagers and they agreed to meet at a sports ground in Cam, near Dursley, Gloucestershire.

The confrontation was linked to insulting comments about a girl Demmon mistakenly believed Josh had done.

Josh Hall (Gloucestershire Police/PA)

Gloucester Crown Court heard the Demmon took a knife hidden in his belt with him to the afternoon meeting on April 16 last year.

James Dawes QC, prosecuting, told the court: ‘He couldn’t have known what was going to happen because Harley Demmon had a knife hidden in his belt.

“Those watching couldn’t have known what he was going to do.

“He got angry before he left the house and he took that knife with him.

“When the pushing and pulling started he pulled out the knife and stabbed Josh to death.”

Josh was stabbed six times during the confrontation which lasted just two minutes and took place in front of other teenagers.

He died the following day in a hospital in Bristol.

Demmon, of Church Road, Cam, Dursley denied murder but was found guilty by a jury last November.

The teenager, who was 15 at the time, told the court he was trying to ‘warn’ Josh with the knife and that he ‘didn’t want to stab him’.

Knife
The knife used by Harley Demmon (Gloucestershire Police/PA)

In a victim impact statement, Josh’s mother, Kirsty Hall, said she would never forgive Demmon for what he did.

“It took less than a minute for our whole life to be shattered into a thousand pieces,” Ms Hall said.

“We were waiting in the hospital and telling him he couldn’t leave us and he had to stay and fight and fight for 11 hours.

“My last words to Josh were, ‘You’re in so much pain and you’re not going to get over it.

“’Go and be with your sister, I promise you everything will be fine’.

“That moment will haunt me forever, seeing my little boy lying on a bed surrounded by tubes.”

She added: “I hope one day you will understand the actions you took that day.

“You have decimated our family and forever changed the course of my family’s life.

“You apologized in court.

“But you twisted the facts to extricate yourself from the consequences of your actions

“I do not accept your apologies, I will never find forgiveness in my heart for what you have done.”

Edward Brown QC, defending, said Demmon had shown remorse following the murder.

“It’s very unusual to come across a young person who has committed a murder who uses a phone to call the police, report his whereabouts and tell the police where the knife is,” he said.

“While in police custody, he showed genuine remorse and distress at what happened that day.”

Imposing a life sentence with a minimum sentence of 14 years, Judge Chamberlain said: ‘For several months before April 2021 you were carrying a knife when you went out.

“You said it was because you were afraid of a local drug dealer and because other groups of boys had knives.

“That may have been part of the reason.

“Another was that carrying a knife made you feel like a big, powerful man.

“You talked to your peers using messaging apps, including Snapchat.

“You were teenagers in Gloucestershire, but you spoke in the patois of urban gangsters.

“You wanted to be fearless when in fact you were deeply anxious.

“You have adopted the characters of hardened and fearless criminals.

“Perceived slights to honor or status have been met with promises of violence.”

He added: “You inflicted all those wounds in less than a minute.

“You acted angrily using the knife you brought to the scene.

“Josh was unarmed and you gave him no chance to defend himself.

“The pre-sentence report provides no evidence of any real remorse, although the letters I have from your family paint a different picture and suggest that your distress at what you have done is not solely focused on yourself.

“I hope that once you’ve had a chance to properly reflect on what you’ve done and process it, the qualities that others have seen in you will come to the fore.

“You will first need to develop a fuller understanding and acceptance that you are responsible for your current situation and, more importantly, for the disaster that has befallen Josh’s family and friends. .”

Detective Superintendent John Turner, who led the investigation, said: “The death of a young person in these circumstances had a huge impact, but there was a continued sense of will from the community to all ages to engage with the police, which enabled the investigative team to understand and present what had happened to the jury.

“It ultimately resulted in their guilty verdict and hopefully it will allow the Hall family to have some form of closure knowing that their son’s killer is behind bars.”

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