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Mother condemns ‘giggling and smirking’ murderers behind stabbing of 16-year-old

Two men and a youth have been sentenced for the murder of 16-year-old Rhamero West (Greater Manchester Police/PA)
Two men and a youth have been sentenced for the murder of 16-year-old Rhamero West (Greater Manchester Police/PA)

The mother of a 16-year-old stabbing victim has hit out at her son’s killers for “giggling and smirking” throughout their trial.

Kelly Brown entered the witness box at Manchester Crown Court to pay tribute to Rhamero West – nephew of ex-Manchester City footballer Shaun Wright-Phillips – as she gave her victim impact statement.

On Friday, Ryan Cashin, 19, Marquis Richards, 17, and Giovanni Lawrence, 20, were sentenced for the murder of Rhamero in the street in Old Trafford last September.

The teenager was chased by car and on foot by the defendants before Cashin caught up and attacked him with a long-bladed knife. One of the four wounds severed an artery in the back of his left thigh and resulted in a fatal loss of blood.

Manchester Crown Court
Manchester Crown Court (Dave Thompson/PA)

All three were convicted last month of the joint enterprise murder – with Lawrence driving the vehicle in the pursuit and Richards handing the murder weapon to Cashin during the chase.

Catering student Rhamero had just completed his first day at college when he was attacked.

In an emotional statement, Ms Brown said: “To the court, my boy is just a statistic – another case – but to me this is real life and my beautiful fun-loving, caring, respectable boy who loved his family.

“Rhamero is our youngest son aged 16 and had his whole life ahead of him with so many goals he wanted to achieve. Goals that were taken away from him in such a cruel and horrific way.

“He was looking forward to his first day at college and he enjoyed even just his short time of space there. Rhamero was going to see his friends after college and he never made it home.

“All those involved in taking my son’s life will serve their time and justice will be prevailed.

“However during this time we know that they will still be able to have contact with family and will one day be released back into society. Their families will not suffer the way we have.

“These people will still be able to set and achieve goals, have a family, go on holidays and be around all those that love them. This was robbed from Rhamero.

“We are doing a life sentence and things will never be the same again for us and his family. Rhamero touched the lives of not just his family, friends but the community as well.

“Why did these individuals want to kill our boy, chase him down and take his life? We ask this question all the time.

“These boys hunted my son down like a pack of wolves, none of them considering the real impact on not only our family but theirs alike.

“You will probably list your problems to get a lighter sentence, autistic, being young etc, the court hears it all. However you took our son’s life.

“From start to finish during this trial I have seen no remorse from any of the defendants and what they have done to our boy.

“You have been giggling and smirking in the dock like it’s all a big game to you. This is real.

“None of you have any respect for myself, my family or even this courtroom.”

Addressing Richards – who can be named after reporting restrictions were lifted – she said: “Marquis, thank you for showing me who you are.

“The last day you got found guilty you did a cut-throat gesture and told me my son had been smoked. So all I can say is thank you for showing your true colours.”

Cashin and Lawrence received life sentences, with minimum terms of 24 years and 21 years respectively before they can be considered for parole.

Richards will be detained in custody for at least 18 years.

All three laughed and waved to the upstairs public gallery as they were led from the dock.

Prosecutors were not able to outline a motive for the murder but said Rhamero was driving a stolen BMW when Richards approached from another stolen vehicle on Princess Parkway on the late afternoon of September 9 last year.

Richards wielded a knife at the driver’s window in stationary traffic before a high-speed pursuit followed in which Rhamero collided with another vehicle and hit a tree.

The youngster and his passengers fled from the car before Cashin cornered Rhamero in the front garden of a house in Norton Street.

Local residents attempted to administer first aid to Rhamero before paramedics arrived and conducted open heart surgery in the street. He later died in hospital.

Following sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Liz Hopkinson, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “No parent should ever have to receive the news that their child has been killed and the perpetrators, refusing to admit responsibility, have only added to their suffering by forcing them to endure the pain of a trial.

“These three caused carnage across south Manchester in the lead-up to Rhamero’s death and it’s a miracle that no members of the public were also injured as a result of their reckless driving and acts of violence.”

Lisa Connor, senior prosecutor for CPS North West, said: “The men who have been convicted of his murder pursued him relentlessly and gave him no chance to escape or defend himself.”