image captionClayton Barker, Earl Bevans, Charlie Chandler, Jamie Chandler and Ben Potter must serve minimum sentences of between 22 and 28 years
Five attackers who stabbed two teenagers to death in a gang-related “revenge” raid at a house party have been jailed for life.
Dom Ansah and Ben Gillham-Rice, both 17, were fatally stabbed in the attack in Milton Keynes in 2019.
Charlie Chandler, 23; Clayton Barker, 20; Ben Potter and Jamie Chandler, both 17, were convicted of murder at Luton Crown Court last month.
Earl Bevans, 23, pleaded guilty at the start of the trial.
image captionThe boys were stabbed in Archford Croft in Milton Keynes in October 2019
image captionMr Justice Spencer described the murders of Ben Gillham-Rice (left) and Dom Ansah as “senseless and tragic”
The trial heard the attackers were either members of, or associated with, the B3 gang in west Bletchley, Milton Keynes.
Prosecutors said the murders were part of a revenge attack after Potter was subjected to a “humiliating” ordeal by members of a gang called M4.
He was assaulted, stripped and taunted in woodland in the Westcroft area of Milton Keynes in 2017.
This was recorded and shared on social media, the court heard, and the teenager later named Dom Ansah as one of the perpetrators.
Jurors were also told Jamie Chandler had been stabbed just months before the murders.
Masked and armed
The court heard that B3 were tipped-off that people associated with M4 were at the party at an address on Archford Croft in Emerson Valley on Saturday, 19 October, 2019.
Armed and wearing masks, three stormed the rear of the house while one, armed with a large machete, blocked the front door.
image captionDom Ansah, top right, slipped as he tried to run from his attackers and suffered 47 injuries
Ben Gillham-Rice was stabbed six times, including through the heart, while prosecutor Charlotte Newell said Dom Ansah received 47 injuries before later dying in hospital.
Two other people were seriously injured.
image captionBen Gillham-Rice and Dom Ansah had known each other since they were four years old
Sentencing, Mr Justice Spencer called them “senseless and tragic” killings that came about through a “culture of violence and knives” promoted through social media.
The judge said Dom Ansah had been a “leading member” of M4.
He added that “it was through his association with Dom Ansah, albeit not a member of the gang himself, that Ben Gilham-Rice was at the party that night with M4 gang members”.
Addressing Potter, the judge said: “I have no doubt that your motivation related to the traumatic experience of the assault you had suffered yourself at the hands of M4 two years earlier. But that did not begin to justify your participation in these murders.”
- Clayton Barker, of Surrey Road in Bletchley, was jailed for a minimum of 28 years
- Charlie Chandler, of Fitzwilliam Street in Bletchley, was jailed for a minimum of 27 years
- Earl Bevans, of no fixed address, was jailed for a minimum of 27 years
- Ben Potter, of Chiswick Close in Westcroft, Milton Keynes, was jailed for a minimum of 22 years
- Jamie Chandler, of Woodrush in Beanhill, Milton Keynes, was jailed for a minimum of 22 years
Ben’s mother Suzanne Gillham said she had felt “physically sick” being so close to her son’s killers during the court case.
She called the use of knives “cowardly” and added that she “was hoping to see some remorse on the faces of the juveniles and there was none”.
“They just smirked and walked out with a smile,” she said
Tracey Ansah, Dom’s mother, added: “Every day we had to put on a mask and a brave face to look at them.”
‘I just needed Dom to know I was there’
image captionDom Ansah told his family the names of his attackers while doctors tried to save his life at Milton Keynes Hospital
Tracey Ansah said that every day she relived the night her son did not come home, and recalled getting the first phone call from one of his friends after the attack at the party.
“He was frantic, saying Dom and Ben had been stabbed and we needed to get there quickly because he thought they were going to die,” she said.
She said he went to the house with her son’s twin sister Holly.
“I just needed Dom to know I was there,” she said.
At that point she rang Ben Gillham-Rice’s mother Suzanne.
image captionBen Gillham-Rice loved football, basketball, street dancing and was the “most laid-back person you could meet,” his family said
Ms Gillham said: “It was 12 o’clock and I was watching Kinky Boots.
“She [Tracey Ansah] was hysterical and said Ben had been stabbed.
“Tracey rang again and said they were on their way to the hospital.
“Dominic came in an ambulance, but Ben just wasn’t coming.”
image captionThe two boys had met at Oxley Park Academy in 2006, when they were four years old
Tracey Ansah said: “We were taken to the hospital where we were so fortunate to get three hours with him before he died.
“He had time with his sister and then he left.”
Meanwhile, the moment Suzanne Gillham had been dreading arrived – a police woman told her Ben had died at the scene.
“I don’t think we could understand,” she said.
“That wasn’t ever going to happen to our Ben. It couldn’t. He didn’t hurt people.”