Home Black, Minority, Ethnic Leeds teenager detained for life for murder

Leeds teenager detained for life for murder

by Editor

By Oli Constable and Corinne Wheatley, BBC News

West Yorkshire Police Bardia ShojaeifardWest Yorkshire Police

Bardia Shojaeifard was 14 when fatally stabbed Alfie Lewis in November 2023

A 15-year-old boy who murdered Leeds teenager Alfie Lewis in a knife attack outside a primary school has been detained for life with a minimum term of 13 years.

Alfie, also 15, died in hospital after being stabbed in the heart and leg in Church Road, Horsforth, in November 2023.

Bardia Shojaeifard, who can now be named after reporting restrictions were lifted, pushed Alfie to the ground before he stabbed him twice “in full view” of a group of school children.

Bardia, who was 14 at the time of the killing, was convicted of murder in May following a two-week trial at Leeds Crown Court.

Alfie Lewis

Alfie Lewis, 15, was stabbed in Horsforth, Leeds, in November 2023

Alfie was attacked near Horsforth School just before 15:00 GMT on 7 November 2023 as he was on his way to meet some friends.

Prosecutor Craig Hassall KC said Bardia had walked “purposefully” towards Alfie before stabbing him with a knife he had taken from a kitchen drawer at home.

At trial, the teenager had denied murder, claiming to have been “scared” of Alfie following two previous incidents, with the latter of these happening on Halloween.

Giving evidence, Bardia said he walked past Alfie’s house with a bag of fireworks and Alfie had said to him: “Give me the bag or something worse than last time is going to happen.”

The defendant said that, when he returned to school after a half-term break, he decided to take a knife from the kitchen drawer to protect himself.

Mr Justice Cotter lifted reporting restrictions preventing Bardia from being identified due to his age on Friday.

He said lifting the defendant’s anonymity would help in the “vitally important debate about the scourge of knife crime, among young people in particular”.

During the trial, witnesses including children, school staff and passing members of the public gave evidence, saying they had seen Bardia attack Alfie without provocation.

Following the attack Bardia fled the scene but was arrested an hour later by officers from West Yorkshire Police.

A knife recovered near to the scene matched a set found at his home and traces of Alfie’s blood were found on the blade.

Police said the handle had been painted black, with Bardia thought to have carried the knife with him at school all day, before seeking out Alfie at home time.

West Yorkshire Police Bardia ShojaeifardWest Yorkshire Police

Bardia Shojaeifard was described as having a “worrying interest in knives”

In her victim impact statement, Alfie’s mother Heather Lane told the court that she was “absolutely devastated” by the loss of her youngest son.

She described Alfie as her “little mate” who never went anywhere without a football.

“I miss his kisses in the morning, I miss his kisses at night, and all the ones in the middle”, she said.

“I can’t accept what’s happened as the pain is too much. I feel as if I’m in a bubble looking at someone else’s life.”

She told Bardia she would “never ever forgive” him and no sentence would ever be enough.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Cotter said people would be wondering how a young boy “from a loving and supportive family” could commit such an “extraordinary” crime “without forewarning or any warning signs save for some pictures of knives on his phone”.

He described Bardia as “outwardly normal” with no interest in crime, however he said he had “carefully planned” his attack on Alfie to “gain revenge for whatever happened on October 31”.

He said one witness described the attack as “vicious”, with Bardia “trying as much as he could to inflict some sort of damage to Alfie”.

He added: “Knives have stolen so many lives, and you and others must understand how dangerous this obsession is.

“Without your interest in knives Alfie would be here today.”

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