KIERAN WILLIAMS TRIAL: Killer sentenced to five years behind bars as judge says 'justice has not been done'
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Kieran Williams's body was set on fire then concealed in a makeshift burial plot and covered with sticks, leaves and litter, at a disused industrial estate near the Northern Spire bridge last April.
The 18-year-old's remains were found six weeks later.
Killer ‘persistently lied’
Louis Hackett, 20, of Fordenbridge Square, Sunderland, was convicted of manslaughter after a trial, by a jury who found him not guilty of murder.
But Newcastle Crown Court heard today how others involved in Kieran's death had ‘got away with it’ and a judge said ‘justice has not been done’.
Prosecutors say Hackett, who has learning difficulties, ‘pestered’ Kieran to meet him, knowing he would come to ‘at least some harm at the hands of others’.
David Lamb KC told the court: "Following the attack, by others, with either one knife or more than one knife, the defendant stood in the grave, next to Kieran's either dead or dying body, while it was set alight by others and assisted, by his own admission, with the filling of that grave.”
Mr Lamb said Hackett ‘persistently lied’ in the aftermath of the killing, while Kieran's worried family and the police were looking for him: "His lies were instrumental in the police being prevented from discovering the grave for just over six weeks.
"He must have known the anguish those close to Kieran would be suffering."
Mr Justice Jay told Hackett he was trusted by Kieran, who also had learning difficulties, and who he described as his ‘best mate; and added: "You played a key role in escorting him to the scene of the murder.
"You knew something untoward was to happen to him, that much is clear from the jury's verdict.
"However, equally consistent with the verdict, you did not know he would suffer really serious harm, still less that he would be stabbed 23 times in a brutal attack."
‘The real perpetrator or perpetrators have got away with it’
The judge said the jury's verdict also showed Ben Cook, 19, of Fordfield Road, Sunderland, who was cleared of murder and manslaughter, was not the attacker and the culprit ‘has still not been apprehended’.
Justice Jay told Hackett his sentence ‘cannot do justice to Kieran Williams or his family’ and added: "He was brutally murdered.
"So far, the real perpetrator or perpetrators have got away with it, justice has not been done, it won't be done by sentencing you for more than what you have done."
Toby Hedworth KC, defending, said Hackett did not know Kieran would be seriously harmed or killed: "He is genuinely sorry for what happened.
"He spends most of his waking time thinking about what had happened and believes this is going to live with him for the rest of his life.
"While he knows it will not bring any comfort, nor could it ever make up for what has happened, he wants to say to Kieran's mother how sorry he is for her loss and how he knows any words from him could never be enough but he feels, very keenly, what she must be feeling."