A Brinklow teenager who killed an unarmed young man by stabbing him through the heart has been told he will have to ‘bear that responsibility’ for the rest of his life.
Levi Whitmore-Wills was jailed for seven years after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of 23-year-old Patrick Hill during an incident at a Coventry flat in February.
Whitmore-Wills (19) of Coventry Road, Brinklow, entered his plea, which was accepted by the prosecution, as he had been due to stand trial at Warwick Crown Court on a murder charge.
Prosecutor Annabel Darlow QC said Mr Hill was stabbed in the chest at the home of Whitmore-Wills’s 16-year-old girlfriend at Albany Court in Brunswick Road, Earlsdon, Coventry.
He and his younger brother James had been together on Saturday February 9, buying alcohol at various shops before visiting the home of a man who lived in Albany Road, Earlsdon.
While there, they stole various items including bottles of aftershave, fragrances, clothing and the man’s Playstation, which they planned to sell to buy cocaine.
After leaving, they encountered Whitmore-Wills and his girlfriend, and Whitmore-Wills agreed to buy the Playstation for £50 which he said he could get on his bank card which was at his girlfriend’s flat nearby.
But in the flat ‘the situation turned sour’ after he had difficulty finding his card, and an argument broke out.
Frightened at what the brothers might do, the 16-year-old girl went to her bedroom and called the police, and when Whitmore-Wills went to speak to her, she asked him to get them to leave.
As things escalated, Whitmore-Wills headbutted Patrick Hill to the face, and he dropped to the floor.
“James Hill was annoyed, and he told the defendant if he wanted a straight fight they should go outside. The defendant instead produced a knife which he held by his side.”
The court heard it was an eight-inch hunting knife with a 4-5-inch blade, which Whitmore-Wills later said he had bought of couple of days earlier for fishing.
“He didn’t threaten them, but said he didn’t want any trouble, and for them to leave,” said Miss Darlow.
James Hill left, and had got to the communal stairway, expecting his brother to follow, when Patrick ran past him, holding his chest with both hands and saying he had been stabbed.
So James followed his brother out of the block where he collapsed on the grass, as Whitmore-Wills told his girlfriend they had gone, and that he had stabbed one of them.
“He was standing there with the knife, with blood on it and on his hand,” said Miss Darlow.
Patrick Hill, who had been stabbed in the chest, with the knife going through his lung and into his heart, was rushed to hospital and underwent emergency surgery, but he never regained consciousness, and was pronounced dead on February 13.
Rachel Brand QC, defending, said: “It is perfectly clear this was utterly unpremeditated. He did not mean to cause really serious injury.
“When it became clear to him that he had, he exhibited true, genuine remorse. This is someone who bitterly regrets what happened.”
Jailing Whitmore-Wills, Judge Andrew Lockhart QC told him: “I must sentence you for the manslaughter of Patrick Hill. He met his untimely death at the age of 23 at your hands.”
Referring to a statement from Mr Hill’s grandmother, who had raised the brothers and described his death as ‘having broken her,’ the judge said: “Such is the loss that the utterly senseless killing of this young man who had so much to live for has caused.
“Your pain may be acute, but it is nothing to the pain I have discerned through this victim statement. You caused it and you must bear that responsibility for the rest of your life.”
He said Whitmore-Wills had a history of violence which included assaults on social workers while he was in care, ‘but nothing of the gravity of this.’
Of what happened in the flat, he said the first violence had come from Whitmore-Wills headbutting Patrick Hill, and then arming himself with the knife, and when James Hill picked up a pair of scissors he kicked them from his hand.
Judge Lockhart continued: “This knife was a fearsome hunting-type knife. This was not a kitchen knife, it could have no legitimate purpose in your life.
“You stabbed him once with that fearsome knife. I fully accept you did not intend to cause him really serious harm, but that knife went into his chest with severe force and into his heart.
“I accept you have shown real and genuine remorse. Even in the police car you were concerned and asked about the state of Patrick Hill.
“I am persuaded you are not a dangerous offender, but only a sentence of detention can be passed to reflect the fact that a life has been lost.”
After sentencing Whitmore-Wills, the judge commended police officer Dc Joanna Rainsford, adding: “This case has been conducted with real dignity, and the investigation is one that has been carried out with real fairness.”