CALLS have been made for three teenagers involved in the fatal attack on Darren Kelly to be punished - despite being cleared of murder.

Two 17-year-old boys and a 16-year-old girl walked free from court after a jury acquitted them of killing the lorry driver following a six-week trial.

Chris Carroll, 20, of Pevensey Close, Pitsea, was convicted of murdering Mr Kelly in Pitsea and will serve a minimum of 21 years in prison after he was given a life sentence yesterday.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard that each of the teenagers, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were involved in an attack in the lead up to the stabbing.

One of the boys told the court he chased dad-of-one Mr Kelly down the street before punching him and pulling him to the ground.

He said he only intended to "give him a smack" and didn't expect the 42 year-old to die as a result of the attack.

The court also hard that both 17-year-olds voluntarily handed themselves in to police in the aftermath of Mr Kelly's death, giving a full and frank account.

In both cases, their mums had driven them to the police station.

Imelda Clancy, independent councillor for Pitsea North West, said the teenagers deserved to be punished even though they did not inflict the lethal stab wounds on Mr Kelly.

She said: "Hitting and kicking someone in the street is still illegal. The teenagers that did that should have assault or actual bodily harm charges brought against them.

"At the moment they have just freely walked away from what they have done.

"What these three teenagers started off could have led to the killing. Who is to say?

"The teenage girl acted as the honey trap. I think that she loaded the bullet and the guy that killed him shot the gun.

"It's terrible. They didn't kill him but they led him to be killed."

The court heard that the 16-year-old girl, who was 15 at the time of the death, had arranged to meet Mr Kelly over online messaging app Whisper.

Karim Khalil, defending her, said the troubled teen had a history of talking to men online and confronting them.

He said the girl told friends, including co-accused Carroll, who was said to be infatuated with her, that she did not want any of the men she had spoken to or met up with to be harmed.

He said: “She sees the possible decency in other people and the possible trauma that might be put on them.

“She doesn’t seek revenge. That’s not her way.”

Chris Carroll, 20, of Pevensey Close, Pitsea, had also denied murder but was found guilty.

He was sentenced to life in prison to serve a minimum of 21 years.


Murderer - Chris Carroll

Judge: Killer showed no remorse

DARREN Kelly's killer showed no hint of remorse during the murder trial, the judge said.

Judge Christopher Ball QC condemned 20-year-old Chris Carroll's behaviour throughout the trial and during the sentencing hearing, claiming that he did not understand the difference between right and wrong.

During the sentencing, he told Carroll: "You are a 20-year-old man who picked up a terrible weapon, chased a man until he was cornered and then thrust it into his chest several times, killing him.

"You left him on the pavement to stagger away and die and nothing in your conduct since then has shown the slightest degree of regret or remorse in any form.

"It is a confirmation of your immaturity and lack of any moral or ethical sense of right and wrong.

"His conduct at the trial has reinforced the view that he has no understanding of the wrong that he has done.

Patrick Upward QC, mitigating for Carroll, told the judge that Carroll acted younger than his years and had not grasped the enormity of his actions.

He said: "He has come across as a young man whose attitude to life belies his years.

"His level of maturity is such that he didn't fully recognise the terrible thing that he has done.

"It is a measure of this young man that he allowed himself to pick up the knife without fully appreciating the consequences that might occur.

"He is beginning to realise the enormity of what he did."


The knife used to kill Darren Kelly

Parts of girl's evidence 'plainly untrue'

EVIDENCE from the 16-year-old girl must be carefully considered in any future court case, a judge has warned.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was cleared of murder alongside two 17-year-old boys.

The court heard she had arranged to meet Darren Kelly over anonymous messaging app Whisper and had told her friends that he was a paedophile.

She persisted with her decision to meet him, despite the others begging her not to.

The court heard the teenager had a history of speaking to men online and arranging to meet then, before confronting them.

Judge Christoper Ball QC said some of her evidence in court was "plainly untrue" and her validity as a witness in any future court case must be considered.

He said: "The prosecution must give careful consideration before relying on the evidence of this witness in any pending case if they are putting her forward as a witness of truth.

"Her account of her movements and conduct in this matter falls seriously short of the truth.

"Her denials of knowledge of the use of a knife were plainly untrue."