Police warning as attacker who stabbed teen after bad-tempered football match avoids jail

A young man who stabbed a teenage boy after a game of football turned ugly was told he had come “remarkably close” to being locked up.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 1:14 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th September 2021, 3:16 pm

Declan Kelly, who was 17 at the time, chased and stabbed the 16-year-old victim in the leg following a bad tempered game of football at The Sports Domes, in Seaton Carew.

Teesside Crown Court heard Kelly followed and attacked the victim who had made a hard tackle on one of his friends during the game in February last year.

It led to the game being abandoned and verbal threats between the groups.

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Declan Kelly, 19, chased and stabbed the 16-year-old boy after a bad tempered game of football at The Sports Domes, in Seaton Carew.

Kelly, now 19, chased the victim across the car park and over the road before stabbing him from behind.

The victim said he felt like he had been punched and ran away. But he realised he had been stabbed when he got home and his shorts were covered in blood.

The court heard after the incident a message was sent to a Snapchat group including Kelly and three friends, warning “don’t grass”.

Kelly was convicted of unlawful wounding after a trial at Teesside Crown Court.

Talking about the lasting impact on the victim, prosecutor Jon Harley said the lad now feels like he has less freedom due to his family’s concern whenever he goes out.

The judge, Recorder Ian Mullarkey, said he couldn’t be sure who sent the Snapchat message before saying to Kelly: "It is, however, of concern that you plainly had a weapon at hand ready to use when the situation at the football pitch escalated and you went on to stab the complainant, himself a young man younger than you because you felt wronged on behalf of your friend.

"What you did to [the victim] was very serious and incredibly dangerous.

"Any stabbing runs the risk that you will sever a major blood vessel and cause fatal blood loss or damage a vital organ causing death or grave injury.”

Martin Scarborough, mitigating, said it was Kelly’s first offence and he has recently started work with a Hartlepool building firm.

“There’s no pattern of offending,” he said. “This appears to be an isolated incident.”

Recorder Mullarkey said he could just suspend the sentence of 15 months detention for 18 months due to Kelly’s immaturity, his otherwise clean record and this good prospects of rehabilitation.

But he said: “You have come remarkably close today to going to a young offenders institution.”

Kelly, of Freemantle Grove, Hartlepool, was also given a three-year restraining order, three-month curfew and ordered to complete 150 hours unpaid work and pay £700 compensation.

Police said the case highlights the dangers of carrying knives and warned they will take action against anyone who does.

A spokesperson for Cleveland Police said: “Anyone who considers carrying a knife should consider the consequences.

"Tragically, too many lives are cut short by those who carry knives and use them, whether they set out to do so or not.

“Wherever possible, Cleveland Police will put those who take a risk by carrying these weapons before the courts to answer for their crimes.”

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