Echo successful in lifting ban on identifying teenage killers

Two teenage killers who kicked a 15year-old traveller to death were named after a successful plea by the Liverpool Echo’s court reporter.

Sarah Chapman made two applications to the judge after Lewis McVeigh and Ricky Kearney, both 16, were convicted of the manslaughter of Johnny Delaney.

Towards the end of the Chester Crown Court trial, which heard how the teenagers had kicked and stamped Delaney to death in a field in Ellesmere Port, Chapman approached the clerk to say she would be seeking the lifting of the Section 39 order preventing their identification. She was asked to put her request in writing to the judge, Mr Justice Richards.

She did so, stating that it was in both the public interest and the interests of justice that they should be fully identified if found guilty of murder or manslaughter.

Chapman also argued that naming the pair would act as a deterrent, as the knowledge that convicted youngsters could lose their anonymity might dissuade others from violent attacks.

After McVeigh and Kearney were found guilty of manslaughter, the judge asked counsel for their comments.

Chapman made a second application, citing a case at Liverpool Crown Court two months ago when Judge Denis Clark lifted a Section 39 order allowing identification of a 16-yearold who took part in a brutal attack on an elderly man.

After he had sentenced McVeigh and Kearney to be detained in a young offenders’ institute for four-and-a-half years, the judge rejected further objections from defence counsel, saying he was convinced that it was in the public interest for them to be identified.

The Echo splashed on the story, with pictures of the pair under the headline “Teenager’s killers caged”.

Echo editor Mark Dickinson said: “This was a particularly vicious and unpleasant attack with racial overtones. It would be wrong for two 16year-old yobs found guilty of stamping a vulnerable young traveller to death to be granted immunity from identification. We are very pleased the judge agreed with Sarah’s argument. She’s a star.”

By Jon Slattery

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