Haverhill murder: Teenage boy guilty over Harley Barfield death

A teenager has been found guilty of murdering a 16-year-old boy in a dispute over a girl.

Harley Barfield was stabbed in Haverhill, Suffolk, on 9 January and died in hospital two days later.

The defendant, also 16, who cannot be named due to his age, admitted killing him but denied murder.

He was found guilty at Ipswich Crown Court by a majority verdict of 10 to two.

Harley was stabbed at least 12 times, including one blow that pierced his heart, in the attack at Strasbourg Square.

Jurors were told the pair had been involved in arguments over a girl and a confrontation just before the murder.

Floral tributes left at the scene of Harley Barfield's murder
Floral tributes were left at the scene of Harley Barfield's murder

The trial heard the defendant became obsessed with his former partner and bombarded her with texts and video messages.

A friend of the teenage boys said Harley had been meeting the girl outside school in case the defendant "followed her home".

A witness said the pair exchanged messages, with Harley telling the defendant to stop contacting the girl.

Prosecutor Riel Karmy-Jones KC said the defendant's "jealousy and obsessiveness" came to a head when he armed himself with a knife and went to find Harley.

Witnesses described Harley's "scared expression" as the defendant chased him while holding a knife and how the victim screamed at him to stop.

He "slashed and stabbed Harley" before he threw the weapon and fled the scene, Mr Karmy-Jones said.

He was located and arrested about 45 minutes later and taken to Bury St Edmunds Police Investigation Centre for questioning.

The knife was recovered from the side of a river near the scene of the attack, which was part of a set taken from the defendant's home.

Harley's blood and DNA were found on the blade.

After Harley fell to the ground, other children present tried to stem the flow of blood before a mother of another child began CPR.

He had stab wounds to his chest and cuts to his neck, head and hands.

The defendant's barrister, Stephen Rose KC, said his client had autism and argued his "mental condition" affected the defendant's thinking and behaviour in "a way that ultimately should reduce his level of responsibility".

It took the jury more than 25 hours to reach a verdict.

As the decision was read out, there were gasps from the public gallery and family members burst into tears, while the defendant kept his head down.

Friends and family have described Harley as caring and fiercely loyal.

The defendant was remanded in custody pending a sentencing hearing due to be held at Ipswich Crown Court on 19 December.

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