Lewis' death a result of "the curse of our time"

Lewis' death a result of "the curse of our time"

Guilty of murder: Rikki Johnson

Guilty of manslaughter: Sercan Calik

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Education Reporter

Click here to read the full archive from the trial.

A 19-year-old was yesterday found guilty of the murder of Lewis Singleton.

Today, Rikki Johnson is behind bars after being unanimously convicted of the popular 18-year-old's murder.

His co-accused Sercan Calik, 19, is also locked up after jurors at Winchester Crown Court found him guilty of manslaughter.

Judge Mr Justice David Steel described Lewis's death as a sign of the growing fixation with knives among young people.

"Regrettably, Lewis Singleton is another statistic in what is a curse of our time - fights in the street involving young people, one of whom is using a knife."

"Leave me alone now, you've done me, you've done me."

Lewis Singleton during the attack

Jurors are still considering their verdict on a third teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons. They have already found him guilty of violent disorder.

A fourth person, aged 16, was freed after being cleared on all counts.

Tragically, Lewis was never the intended target of Johnson, of Honeysuckle Road, Bassett, who had gone to Woolston in the early hours of March 31 last year with four friends.

The court had heard how he had been cruising the streets in a car owned by Calik, and they stopped after spotting Lewis and his friend Craig Smith.

The two friends had been walking home after a night out, visiting a local pub and then a friend's party.

As they walked along Johns Road the pair were passed by Calik's silver Vauxhall Vectra, which turned into Obelisk Road and parked.

When the friends walked past they were ambushed by some of the gang waiting inside the vehicle.

Although Mr Smith managed to flee, Lewis was set upon and repeatedly punched, kicked and stabbed.

The court heard although Johnson admitted stabbing Lewis, he claimed he had only done it twice to protect a friend, and was not sure the knife had even made contact.

As the blows rained down on him, Lewis was heard to plead with his attackers to stop their violent assault, saying "leave me alone now, you've done me, you've done me".

When the gang retreated, Lewis ran from the scene but collapsed soon after in nearby Condor Close. The court heard Calik, of Burgess Road, Bassett, then drove the car into the road looking for Mr Smith, where the group watched Lewis, of Upper Weston Lane, Newtown, fall to the floor.

As the car sped off, the jury was told Johnson, who was drunk on five litres of alcopops, laughed and joked as he bragged to the other gang members about doing a "proper job" on his victim.

Lewis was rushed to Southampton General Hospital, but despite blood transfusions doctors battled in vain to save Lewis who had been stabbed five times.

He died eight hours later.

The pathologist who examined his body said any three of the wounds were so severe they could have been fatal.

The 10cm-bladed flick knife Johnson used punctured Lewis' left lung, diaphragm and liver, and went right through his right arm.

The blow that ultimately killed Lewis hit his abdomen, severing the major artery carrying blood to his right leg.

Police traced the Vectra to a kebab shop in Southampton and arrested its driver Calik in bed above the shop.

Officers found a knife that had Lewis' blood on it in a petrol can at the rear of the shop.

Yesterday, Johnson simply nodded in the dock as the jury told the court they found him guilty of the murder and violent disorder.

Dressed in a charcoal-coloured suit, white shirt and black tie, he appeared emotionless as he was led away in handcuffs.

As each of the verdicts were read out gasps and sobs were heard from the public gallery.

Johnson and Calik will learn their fates once pre-sentence reports have been compiled.

A 17-year-old defendant - who cannot be named for legal reasons - was earlier found guilty of violent disorder. The jury are still deliberating on charges of murder and manslaughter.

The fourth gang member - a 16-year-old defendant who also cannot been named for legal reasons - was unanimously cleared of all charges.

For more see today's Daily Echo.

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