A 15-year-old boy who tried to decapitate a 12-year-old during a ferocious attack in which he stabbed the younger boy more than 70 times is facing a life sentence after a jury this afternoon (Mon) convicted him of murder.
During the savage attack the teenager attempted to cut off Roberts’ head and one of his hands. One of the blows caused the blade of the knife to snap with the tip left embedded in Roberts’ skull.
The defendant, who cannot be named because of a court order, admitted in his evidence that he was excited by violence but claimed he simply lost control.
During the trial at Lincoln Crown Court the defendant claimed he met up with Roberts to hand over a stash of drugs to sell but Roberts began arguing when he did not receive the £50 payment he was expecting.
He claimed Roberts produced a knife but he took it from him and then, after losing his self-control, repeatedly stabbed him.
The defendant, who recently turned 15, admitted manslaughter but denied murder saying he did not mean to harm Roberts.
His story was rejected by the jury who took just over an hour to convict him.
Mr Justice Jeremy Baker adjourned sentence to a later date and remanded the defendant in custody.
The judge told the boy: “Now that you have been found guilty of the murder of Roberts Buncis, in due course the sentence will have to be imposed upon you.
“The type of sentence will be explained to you but the actual sentence will have to be the subject of discussion between counsel on your behalf and myself.
“That will not take place today but in the future. You will remain in custody in the meantime.”
Roberts, who was born in Latvia, lived with his father Edgars just a short walk from where he was killed. He was a pupil at the local Haven High Academy and was due to celebrate his 13th birthday a couple of days after his death.
During the three week trial the jury heard the defendant had a collection of knives in his bedroom and had been excluded from his primary school for taking a knife into class.
The jury was told by a fellow pupil that the boy routinely carried a knife and would take a blade into his secondary school. At the time of the murder the boy had been excluded for drug dealing in the school.
He had previously discussed with Roberts a plan to carry out a knife-point robbery of a shop to get money so he could set up as a drug dealer.
The robbery never happened after Roberts described the proposal as “too mad” and refused to be involved.
Five days before the murder the defendant carried out a street attack on another boy who was punched and kicked on his way to school.
Mary Loram QC, said the defendant intended to set up as a cannabis dealer, and apparently feared that Roberts would snitch on him.
He messaged another boy saying “Rob’s a liability” which was met with the response “If he snitch, smack time”.
Roberts’ body was found in a wooded area near to a footpath in the village of Fishtoft on the outskirts of the town of Boston, Lincs, on the morning of December 12, 2020.
Miss Loram said Roberts was lured from his home at 3.30am to meet the defendant at a wooded area near to houses in Alcorn Green.
The teenager then launched a ferocious attack on Roberts trying to cut off his head and one of his hands as he inflicted more than 70 knife wounds.
Miss Loram said the evidence showed Roberts was attacked and then chased before being murdered.
“He was stabbed to the head, to the back, neck, torso, legs and arms and those injuries inevitably led to his death.
“You can see for yourself the savagery and the extent of the attack upon him.
“We can see repeated injuries caused by a knife to the back. It is difficult to see how these could ever have been caused in self defence. The wound to the neck speaks for itself. The injuries to one of the hands was such that it looked as if, in the attack, the defendant had tried to cut it off.
“When the knife was found the tip was missing. The tip of the knife was found still lodged in his (Roberts) skull. He had been struck with such force as to break the tip of that knife
“This was no instant reaction. To cause this amount of injuries must have taken time. It was truly a sustained attack and could never sensibly have been suggested to have been done in self defence.
Miss Loram said that later in the day the defendant messaged another boy saying “Bro I’ve done something bad”. He told another boy “Things went wrong” and “This wasn’t supposed to go down like this”.
Messages on Roberts’ phone, which was found near to his body, led to the defendant being identified as a prime suspect.
As a result the home and garden where the defendant lived were searched.
Miss Loram said “In that garden under a pot was a knife. On that knife was the blood of Roberts and also of the defendant.
“A Nike top had been partially burned. There were some latex gloves. These had (the defendant’s) blood on them. That must have been as a result of a significant cut he had to his hand There was also Roberts’ DNA on those gloves.”
She described the defendant’s evidence as “ludicrous” adding “This was not about drugs”.
The defendant told the jury he did not intend to hurt Roberts but suffered a loss of self-control.
“I just started laughing at him. Then as I was laughing, I saw this silver thing coming at me. It was a knife. I panicked and tried to grab the knife off him,” he said.
“I grabbed it just above the blade. My hand was around the blade. Cuts to my hand were caused by trying to grab the knife off him.
“I just started stabbing him. I just lost it.”
He denied that he meant to kill or even hurt Roberts.
Detective Chief Inspector Richard Myszczyszyn, of East Midlands Special Operations Unit, said: “Roberts should have had his life ahead of him but his future was stolen in the most brutal way.
“The future of all who loved Roberts will now be tainted with grief and sorrow and we send our deepest sympathy. Their bravery, and their support for our investigation, under such horrific circumstances, has been incredible.
“This was an utterly senseless act with devastating consequences. It’s a tragedy that deeply affected the school and the local community, and one that will stay with all of us for a lifetime. The level of violence, and that it involved children, makes it all the more difficult to comprehend.
“The diligence and dedication displayed by Officers and staff who responded and investigated was exemplary. Their efforts are a credit to the force and hopefully of some reassurance to the community who continue to process the fact that such a distressing and disturbing act could happen on their doorstep.
“Nothing can bring Roberts back, but today’s outcome at least might offer some closure to those affected, and a sense that justice has been served.
“There could be no stronger message than this on the potential devastation that carrying a knife can bring. Please think of Roberts, remember him, and make the right choices. If you, as a parent or a child, have any concerns about knives, please talk to us. We can all play a part in building a future free of such unnecessary and tragic loss of life.”
More from the Roberts Buncis murder trial:
- Jury retires to consider verdict in Roberts Buncis murder case
- Roberts Buncis murder trial: “Why did you kill him?” — “He attacked me with a knife”
- Boy accused of murder admits to being “excited by violence”
- Boy accused of murder “just lost it” but “didn’t mean” to kill Roberts Buncis
- Teen admits manslaughter of Roberts Buncis
- Roberts Buncis murder accused, 14, had multiple knives in bedroom, court hears
- Roberts Buncis stabbed more than 20 times, murder trial hears
- Jury hears how neighbour found ‘lifeless’ body of Roberts Buncis, 12
- Friend of teen accused of Roberts Buncis murder speaks out in court
- Teen admitted to killing Roberts Buncis to friend, jury told
- Roberts Buncis murder accused used drugs daily and carried knife at school, jury told
- Roberts Buncis, 12, savagely killed over snitch fears, court hears
- Trial details savage murder of Roberts Buncis, 12