Teenagers who lured 15-year-old to death in Stratford locked up for murder

Michael Irving was stabbed to death in September 2019. Picture: Metropolitan Police

Michael Irving was stabbed to death in September 2019. Picture: Metropolitan Police - Credit: Archant

Two boys have been sentenced for murdering 15-year-old Michael Irving in Stratford.

Michael’s mother Leisa said: “I am pleased that justice has been served on the youths that killed my son, Michael, nothing will bring my son back but at least these two youths will not be able to plan and kill any other children in the near future.”

During the trial, the court heard how Michael, of Woolwich, was lured to his death as part of a plan sinisterly executed by the two teens - one 16 and the other 15, who cannot be named for legal reasons because of their age.

At around 6.40pm on Tuesday, September 3, Michael was found by a member of the public who was walking along Tennyson Road, near a block of flats in Byford Close, Stratford. He had been stabbed four times.

In the seconds before, another witness reported seeing a group of males involved in a fight, with one of the boys being attacked by two others.

The witness who found Michael attempted CPR before the arrival of emergency services.

The first paramedic from London Ambulance Service (LAS) was on scene nine minutes, and a full complement of medics, including from London’s Air Ambulance had arrived in Byford Close by 7pm.

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Sadly he was pronounced dead at 7.45pm.

An investigation by homicide detectives was launched, and the 16-year-old was charged with murder two days later.

The 15-year-old was charged on September 10. In February he pleaded guilty to Michael’s murder. The 16-year-old was found guilty in March.

The investigation was particularly aided by clear CCTV before and after the attack, leading to fast-time arrests and charges.

The CCTV which had proven so crucial to detectives’ enquiries placed Michael at Westfield shopping centre at 4.21pm on the afternoon of the murder.

At 6.09pm, the two teenagers, who Michael had earlier arranged to meet via Snapchat, arrived in Stratford by bus. They had travelled from Goodmayes, which is where the 16-year-old was living at the time.

A friend of Michael’s who saw them meet up said Michael seemed “really happy” and the group had fist-bumped in greeting.

The three boys then walked to Byford Close.

At 6.36pm, minutes before the murder, CCTV showed how the 15-year-old had changed his clothing and wrapped a T-shirt around his head which concealed his face.

Within six minutes, both were seen to run away and enter a nearby alleyway.

Again, CCTV evidence revealed more about the pair’s efforts to avoid suspicion, as both were captured changing their clothing. The 16-year-old was even caught removing a large knife from between the layers of the two pairs of tracksuit bottoms he was wearing, before placing the weapon into a rucksack.

As Michael lay dying in the street, his attackers attempted to journey back to Goodmayes by train. Despite the tricks employed to evade the attention of police, they were stopped for not having a valid ticket and the 15-year-old gave his true details to the rail inspector.

The motive for the murder was not obvious. However, the court heard that Michael had come home earlier than expected after going to stay with the 16-year-old for a short period prior to the attack. The group did not seem to have fallen out during this time and Michael was happy to see those who he believed to be his friends at Westfield that afternoon.

Det Ch Insp Mark Wrigley led the investigation.

He said: “It is never a good day when two teenagers are sentenced for murder, however, both of those imprisoned are callous in nature and unremorseful about violently taking away Michael’s life.

“We can only hope that Michael’s family, who have remained dignified throughout this traumatic process, can take the smallest degree of comfort that the criminal process is now complete.

“They will continue to have our support as they continue to grieve for a son lost to violence.”

The 16-year-old, who is now 17, was sentenced to 14 years and six months minimum after being found guilty of murder by a jury.

The 15-year-old, now 16, was sentenced to 10 years and six months minimum after pleading guilty to murder.