A BOY accused of murdering a Southampton teenager has been found not guilty of murder.

The 15-year-old was charged after James Laurie died of a single stab wound to the chest on January 19 this year.

After a two week trial at Winchester Crown Court the jury gave its verdict shortly before 1pm on Tuesday.

Daily Echo:

It found the teen, from Portsmouth not guilty, of murder and not guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Judge Mrs Justice May thanked the jury members for their services.

The acquitted teen who cannot be named for legal reasons has always claimed he was acting in self-defence during the incident in Lindsay Road, Southampton.

This was also argued by defence barrister James Newton-Price QC.

Daily Echo:

The boy was originally arrested for attempted murder when James was still “gravely ill”

And, during a police interview told how he waved his knife around in an x-shape motion to deter James and his friends, who he said threatened to stab him.

Giving evidence earlier in the trial the teen accepted he was carrying a knife and said he did not intend to kill James.

No blade has ever been found with the boy telling police he threw it away.

Daily Echo:

It was heard, how the defendant and a female friend had driven to a party in Lindsay Road in Thornhill.

Shortly after arriving, James is said to have “lunged” through the car door and snatched for the girl’s car keys.

Daily Echo:

He gripped her throat, “leaving her with red marks” and shouted, “everyone get out of the car”.

Described as “no angel” he then unleashed a torrent of abuse at her.

Mr Newton-Price described the event as a carjacking and told of “11 previous occasions when James had a knife or blade in his possession and threatened others”.

Judge Mrs Justice May is due to sentence the teen for possessing a bladed article in a public place at a later date – he previously pleaded guilty.