A 15-year-old boy has been found guilty of murdering his 12-year-old friend after attempting to behead him.
The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, repeatedly stabbed Roberts Buncis ‘in excess of 70 times’ after luring him into woodland in Lincolnshire last year.
Lincoln Crown Court heard that the defendant ‘intended at the very least to inflict serious violence’ on his young victim because ‘he was a snitch’, ahead of the ‘brutal and gratuitous’ killing.
The incident took place off Alcorn Green in Fishtoft, near Boston, on December 12, just two days before the victim’s 13th birthday.
The murderer, who was 14 at the time of the attack, claimed Roberts had taken the knife to the scene, adding that he ‘lost control’ when the younger boy attempted to stab him.
But jurors dismissed the defendant’s account after less than two hours of deliberations, and instead concluded he was ‘motivated by anger and tried to punish the deceased rather than losing self-control’.
The youth admitted manslaughter part way through his trial, but denied murder.
Addressing the defendant after his conviction on Monday, Mr Justice Jeremy Baker told him: ‘You have been found guilty of the murder of Roberts Buncis.
‘In due course, a sentence will have to be imposed upon you.
‘The type of sentence will be explained to you I am quite sure, but the actual sentence will have to be the subject of discussion between counsel and myself.
‘You will remain in custody in the meantime.’
The teenager’s trial was told he stabbed Roberts dozens of times with a wound to the neck that was ‘consistent with a decapitation attempt.’
Jurors were told the defendant ‘lured’ his victim to the area after the pair exchanged Facebook messages.
The youth also sent messages to other friends after the attack saying: ‘It wasn’t meant to go down like this.’
Adjourning the case, the judge told the youth’s barrister: ‘I am not intending to proceed to sentence this afternoon.
I fully understand that there may well be material which the defence and possibly the prosecution, will want to provide to me, which will be relevant to the sentencing exercise.
‘It may be that you would like to give some thought to the nature of that material.
‘In any event, it’s not a straight-forward sentencing exercise, and I would welcome input from both yourself and the Crown as to the appropriate sentence in this case, as far as length is concerned.’
The judge, who excused the jurors from further jury service for the next five years, said he would consider an application to lift reporting restrictions in the case at the sentencing hearing.
Defending, QC Brendan Kelly admitted the violence was ‘extraordinary’ but claimed that it indicated a ‘loss of control’ by the defendant.
Addressing the jury during the trial, the prosecution told the jury the murder was ‘brutal’, ‘sustained’ and ‘gratuitous’.
Following the verdict, Detective Chief Inspector Richard Myszczyszyn, of East Midlands Special Operations Unit, said: ‘Roberts should have had his life ahead of him but his future was stolen in the most brutal way.
Praising the family and sending them his best wishes, he continued: ‘It’s a tragedy that deeply affected the school and the local community, and one that will stay with all of us for a lifetime.
The level of violence, and that it involved children, makes it all the more difficult to comprehend.’
‘Nothing can bring Roberts back, but today’s outcome at least might offer some closure to those affected, and a sense that justice has been served.
‘There could be no stronger message than this on the potential devastation that carrying a knife can bring.
‘Please think of Roberts, remember him, and make the right choices. If you, as a parent or a child, have any concerns about knives, please talk to us.’