Two teenagers have been jailed for life today (5 Jan) for the murder of Jack Norton who was stabbed in a savage and unprovoked attack in a Wednesbury park.
Brandon Price, now aged 19, and another teenage boy, just 15 at the time and who can’t be named due to his age, were convicted of Jack’s murder on 23 November and were jailed for minimum terms of 20 years and 15 years respectively.
On 7 December 2022 Jack had spent the day with two female friends and all three were walking along Franchise Street, when Price and the 15-year-old stopped to talk to them. Wolverhampton Crown Court has heard that Jack, who lived in Alumwell, in Walsall, was attacked in front of his friends Mia Johnson, aged 18, and a 16-year-old girl,
All five walked into Cook Street and onto a grassy field, known locally as Cookie Park. The younger boy had become aggressive towards Jack and started making threats, which worried Jack and made him want to leave.
Giving evidence for the prosecution at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Monday, Miss Johnson said: “He was saying that Jack owed someone £20 for drugs. Jack didn’t agree or disagree.
“The lad started to make death remarks. He was making out that he had a problem with Jack. He was saying that he wished he had a car so that he could run him over. He said he would start a fire to burn him and that he would slash him.
“Jack asked them what was going on, but they didn’t answer. Brandon was telling the lad to calm down.”
“It was Jack’s decision to leave a that point. He didn’t say anything,” she added.
After a short time Jack indicated to his friends that they needed to go, so one of the girls said he should walk her home. As Jack went to fist-bump Brandon Price in farewell, Price swung at him with a knife without warning, striking him several times.
Price and his friend ran from the park laughing as the two girls screamed for help and called 999.
Sadly, despite emergency surgery at the scene, Jack died from a stab wound to his heart.
The motive for the attack is still unknown.
Ms Brand said Jack had suffered one stab wound to the chest, which was 8cm deep and penetrated his heart. She said he also had cuts to the back of his right hand, as if he had tried defending himself in some way. Ms Brand alleged that the 16-year-old boy “egged” Price on and, despite not wielding the knife, said he was “just as much responsible for the crime of murder as Price.”
The court heard that CCTV captured the defendants as they “made their escape” and Ms Brand it appeared they were “celebrating what they had done” and “whooping with excitement”. Jurors were told one camera device had picked up audio, in which one them could be heard saying “kill, kill”, with further footage showing the knife being dropped down a drain on the corner of Franchise Street and Cook Street.
Detectives arrested both defendants within days of the murder and found traces of Jack’s blood on clothing they had worn that night.
At trial, Price declared he had acted in self-defence, whilst the teen admitted being present, but denied being involved, however the jury at Wolverhampton Crown Court saw through their lies and found them both guilty of murder.
Detective Chief Inspector Hannah Whitehouse, from our homicide unit, led the investigation. She said: “This was a totally unprovoked attack on a defenceless teen, who was simply hanging out with his friends, however the two defendants had jointly formed an intention to kill Jack when they came together.
“His family still don’t know why he was targeted and this just adds to their distress and the injustice of his loss.
“Now the sentencing has taken place we hope this allows the family the time and space they need to grieve.”