Seven convicted of murder over Walsall stabbing

Bailey Atkinson
Bailey Atkinson died from stab wounds after the attack in Walsall

Seven youths have been found guilty of murder, after a man was stabbed to death in a savage attack in Walsall involving machetes and so-called zombie knives.

Bailey Atkinson, 20, was set upon on High Street on 28 January 2023.

Police said was in revenge for an alleged assault on one of the defendants' brother months earlier.

Mr Atkinson underwent open heart surgery, but died of multiple wounds to his back, arms and legs.

Sonny Loveridge and Ronan McCulloch, both 19, from Bloxwich, Patrick Brookes, 18, of Walsall, and Benjamin Wilkes, 18, were among those convicted at Nottingham Crown Court.

Three 17-year-olds who cannot be named for legal reasons were also found guilty.

Nvaah Whitter, 18, was cleared of murder, and a 16-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons was also acquitted of murder and manslaughter.

Det Insp Jim Mahon from West Midlands Police said the verdict "gets some very dangerous people off the street".

Mr Atkinson had moved to Walsall from Coventry two years earlier.

Police said his final words were: "I'm going to die. Tell my mom I love her."

The force described how Mr Atkinson was walking through Walsall's market area with a female friend after leaving a pub when a car swerved towards him.

The pair began to run, but two vehicles, a Toyota Verso and a Seat Leon, both stolen days earlier, gave chase.

'Passing weapons around'

The vehicles' occupants had met up in a supermarket car park earlier and driven out to look for Mr Atkinson, police said.

They cornered him at Lower Hall Lane and drove at him again.

When their attempt to run him over failed, six occupants got out of the vehicles on High Street and stabbed the unarmed man.

"There were four weapons used by six individuals... at the scene so they were actually passing the weapons around," Det Insp Mahon said.

"Watching footage of a young man dying asking for a message of love to be passed to his mother is something that has haunted my investigation team," he added.

The attackers got back in the cars and left Mr Atkinson bleeding on the floor.

Police said they responded within five minutes and started CPR, but despite surgery at the scene, he was later pronounced dead in hospital.

The cars were found burnt out in Slater Street, Wolverhampton, minutes after the killing, police said.

The West Midlands force believe the attack was in revenge for an alleged assault by Mr Atkinson on one of the defendants' brother two months earlier.

Det Insp Mahon described the investigation as complex, with officers relying on CCTV and mobile phone evidence to track defendants' movements.

"I pay respect to Bailey's mother and family, who have had to endure this trial in the same court room as his killers," he said.

"Again this highlights the tragic consequences of carrying a knife and conflict between groups of young people," he added.

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