A 15-year-old has been convicted of the murder of a software engineer outside an Asda in a town near Birmingham. Ian Kirwin was stabbed in the chest following a row on March 8, after the 53-year-old challenged some boys for messing about in the customer toilets.
Three other teenagers – two aged 14 and one aged 16 – were cleared of killing Mr Kirwan but were found guilty of violent disorder. A fifth boy was cleared of all charges.
None of the boys can be legally identified because of their ages, and will be sentenced at a later date. Jurors convicted the teenager of the murder after hearing how Mr Kirwin was knifed in the heart by the youth, who was 14 at the time.
The 15-year-old acted as part of a masked gang which “terrorised” members of the public in Redditch, a town near Birmingham.
The killer, from Birmingham, travelled with a group of male friends by train to the Worcestershire town on March 8, last year. The youth who stabbed Mr Kirwan accepted he did so, but argued the legal defence of diminished responsibility due to mental health issues.
The court heard that the five defendants were part of a larger group of 11 on the train, reported Birmingham Live. During the journey a fight broke out among them which involved punches being thrown.
The court heard some passengers were also concerned about their general misbehaviour which included standing on seats. Train cameras captured a knife sticking out of the pocket of one of the boys.
Mr Kirwan first encountered the boys at around 7.15pm. The trial heard one of them was bragging about urinating on the floor while another banged on Mr Kirwan’s cubicle door to get him to hurry up.
Prosecutor Benjamin Aina KC explained how the fight broke out outside Asda, telling jurors: “A little later he left the toilets, he left the Asda store and some of these boys were outside. He challenged them ‘why were you messing about in the toilet?’, words to that effect, and a scuffle broke out and during that scuffle Ian Kirwan was stabbed once to his heart with a knife and he died before getting to the hospital.”
It was said one of the boys replied ‘If you want a problem we’ll have a problem’ before a scuffle ensued, the court heard. CCTV captured the group of youths confronting Mr Kirwan who made karate-style defensive kicks.
The jury spent more than 30 hours deliberating.
Three of the youngsters were cleared of manslaughter and murder, while a fifth, aged 16, was cleared of all charges including violent disorder, having claimed he was not involved in the fatal confrontation and could not have predicted it.
A ten-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court was told Mr Kirwan, an artificial intelligence engineer who worked at Jaguar Land Rover’s Coventry headquarters, was an “unfortunate member of the public in the wrong place at the wrong time”.
He had just been shopping for a light switch in B&Q before heading to Asda to pick up some wine and snacks when he was killed.
Those convicted will be sentenced in the same court on February 15.