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Teenage killer of father-of-two has murder conviction appeal dismissed
Updated 10:21am Monday 16th June 2014 in News
One of the teenage killers of a father-of-two has failed in a bid to challenge his murder conviction.
Luke Garner was just 16 when he and George Keane, who was 17 at the time, killed David Scott after a scuffle in South Moor, Stanley, County Durham.
Mr Scott, 33, was stabbed five times with a knife shortly after 1am on December 23, 2012. The weapon was never recovered.
The teenagers tried to blame each other and it was not known which had inflicted the fatal stab wounds in the back lane of Rose Avenue.
Both were found guilty of murder at Newcastle Crown Court in August last year, and were jailed for life, with an order that they must serve a minimum of 14 years.
Garner, now 17, formerly of Acton Dene, Stanley, launched a bid to clear his name at London's Criminal Appeal Court, with his lawyers arguing his conviction was 'unsafe'.
But his appeal was dismissed by three of the country's most senior judges, who said there were no grounds on which the conviction could be challenged.
Mr Justice Nicol told the court that, following a disturbance at his mother's house, Garner intended to confront the victim and took Keane along for back-up in case he got into a fight.
Both had denied murder.
Lawyers acting for the two teenagers at their sentencing hearing said they did not intend to kill him.
Although it was not known who was responsible both youths were convicted on the basis they were involved in a joint enterprise.
Garner's lawyers argued his conviction was 'unsafe', saying the verdict was not open to the jury and that trial judge was wrong to allow jurors to hear evidence about Garner's 'knife collection', as it was prejudicial.
The murder trial heard Garner had collected knives since he was eight-years-old and his collection included a samurai sword.
Dismissing the appeal, and upholding the conviction, Mr Justice Nicol said jurors were entitled to reach the verdicts they did and the evidence about the knives was rightly put before them.
Sitting with Lord Justice Treacy and Mr Justice Turner, he added: "The trial judge's ruling that this evidence was admissible was wholly justified - it was material to show a detailed knowledge of, and interest in, knives."
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