The family of a teen “hunted down” and stabbed to death by a “lynch mob” say he was the victim of racism as his killer is sentenced.
Dea-John Reid, 14, was chased by thugs hurling “disgusting” racial abuse like “black b*****d” in “revenge” for an earlier incident involving the lad’s group of friends, Birmingham Crown Court heard.
Birmingham Live reports the “n word” was also used during the May 2021 attack, according to Dea-John’s mother Joan Reid who gave a statement to the court.
Speaking through Bishop Jaddoo, the grieving mum said her son’s reputation had been dragged through the dirt by the trial.
A 15-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was previously acquitted of murder, but found guilty of manslaughter. He was sentenced to six-and-a-half years this week.
Joan has compared the horrific scene to Mississippi Burning, a film that focused on the plight of black people in the Deep South state.
In her statement, read out by Bishop Jaddoo in court, she said: “Dea-John Reid, my son, my handsome son, is no longer with us.
“He wasn’t someone to be banged out; he was my son, a brother, an uncle and a nephew, a cousin and a friend. Monday, May 31, 2021, will be a day in my life that I will never forget.
“After seeing my son bouncing around with life, he went out to play football and never returned, despite me speaking to him at approximately 7pm on the evening of the 31st, telling me he would be home in 40 minutes, which never came.
“The only call I had was from a friend telling me my son had been hurt in Kingstanding and that I should make my way there, which I duly did, only to see in the middle of College Road a blue tent behind a police cordon.
“I was told my son was lying on the ground underneath the tent dead as he had been stabbed.
“Being told I cannot go and see my son or cuddle him. Suddenly, my youngest baby, at the tender age of 14, had gone and all I was being told is I cannot even see him.
“The next time I saw him was in a mortuary in Coventry.
“It dawned upon me that my son Dea-John, a budding footballer, someone who wanted to be a dentist, had been torn away out of my life, breaking my heart into pieces, by the actions of others, forever.
“Dea-John used to be there for me, he would make me a cup of tea, get my medication.
“We had a fantastic relationship, which was abruptly destroyed by the actions of others.
“Upon reflection, I will never see Dea-John become a footballer or the dentist that he dreamed of, nor see Dea-John get engaged and married, nor see Dea-John have children, nor his own home or even just simply have a conversation with him face-to-face.
“The final act of love I could show to my son was to ensure he had the send-off he deserved.”
Richard Wormald QC, the prosecuting barrister, told the court the attackers behaved “like a pack” and “hunted down” the victim
Witnesses claimed they heard the group say: “Get the black b*****d.”
The 15-year-old was convicted of manslaughter and given a detention of six and a half years by the court.
Those also in the group included George Khan, 38, Michael Shields, 35, a 16-year-old and a 15-year-old, who were found not guilty.
The tragic incident was described as a “revenge” attack for an earlier provocation.
But Dea John’s family see the single-person sentencing as being too weak.
Joan added: “While members of the perpetrator’s family will be able to visit their loved one and eventually see him released back in the community, my only visit to Dea-John is to a grave in a cemetery.
“My only meeting with Dea-John may well be, if I am still in this country, to join him in his grave when the Lord calls me home.
“To add insult to injury, I have had to sit through a trial in this court building where I am told that justice will prevail and I put my trust in the system and I do sincerely believe that this system has let me down.
“Many may be of the view he was up to no good with his friends. However, he did not hurt anyone physically, he was also unarmed and he had not robbed anyone.
“In fact, he was making his way home after whatever had happened previously de-escalated.
“Then, suddenly, while he was making his way along College Road, I believe to the bus stop, he was hunted by a lynch mob, reminiscent of a scene from Mississippi Burning.”
In her statement, Joan said the jury’s make-up was not “reflective” of Birmingham.
She added: “Manslaughter, where he deliberately picked up a kitchen knife placed it down his tracksuit bottoms and then, once he saw Dea-John, chasing him in open public in front of witnesses on a bright evening, wearing a balaclava, a hood over his head, gloves with a knife raised in the air and when my son stopped running, stabbing him to death with sufficient force which dislodged blood vessels to his heart.
“Having to sit through a trial watching the last moment of my son’s life on CCTV footage, the terror that he must have felt prior to being knifed to death.
“Then to add insult to injury, this verdict of manslaughter, whilst the others are all found not guilty, just goes to prove to me, that the life of Dea-John Reid, my son, a young black man, didn’t matter .
“This only highlights the ongoing question, ‘do black lives really matter?’ As far as I am concerned, many will say that this young man has been held accountable for the killing of my son.”
After the verdict, Bishop Jaddoo said the case highlighted the need for legal and social reforms.
He said: “The jury was not balanced and the abuse Dea-John suffered, we can’t do anything about that. They chase him and terrorize him.
“We want jury challenges to be brought back, particularly in hate crime cases, and we want civil rights charges to be brought against people so this type of lynch mob mentality does not surface again.
“People have set up glamor projects, but this has been going on for far too long and no-one is doing anything about it.”
Passing sentence, Mr Justice Johnson said: “Dea-John was a child. He was much loved by his family, including his mother.
“Whatever was done by the other group of boys did not remotely justify or excuse what happened next.
Darren Quinton/Birmingham Live)
Mr Johnson told the court that one of the chasing group had shouted “disgusting racist abuse”.
He told the youth: “Dea-John was faster than you, but he had asthma and he ran out of breath and stopped. You walked up to him and stabbed him and then ran away.
“Within moments, Dea-John collapsed and died.
“The CCTV shows there was a concerted chase of Dea-John. You attempted to conceal evidence of your crime by disposing of the knives and gloves.
“The offending took place in broad daylight and in a busy public place. The shock and distress of those who saw it is clear.”
Timothy Clark QC, for the defendant, said he had been incited to commit the stabbing.
Michael Shields, 36, of Alvis Walk, Castle Bromwich, George Khan, 39, of Newstead Road, Kingstanding, along with a 16-year-old and another 15-year-old, were cleared of murder.
A sixth defendant, Hollie Davies, 36, of Waldon Walk, Castle Bromwich, was found not guilty of assisting an offender.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.