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Last Updated: Friday, 23 November 2007, 15:34 GMT
Stab-death youths jailed for life
Kevin Johnson (photo from Northumbria Police)
Kevin Johnson was fatally stabbed in the chest
Three teenagers convicted of stabbing a young father to death after he confronted them about their rowdy behaviour have been jailed for life.

Kevin Johnson, 22, of Partick Road, Pennywell, was murdered by the youths in the early hours of 19 May.

Dean Curtis, 19, must serve a minimum of 17 years; Tony Hawkes, 17, was jailed for at least 16 years and Jordan Towers, 16, for a minimum of 13 years.

Judge David Hodson said carrying knives was "the mark of a coward".

Curtis, of Forest Road; Hawkes, of Mortimer Street and Towers, of Fell Road, all in Sunderland, ran off after the murder and then started vandalising cars and shouting triumphantly, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Dean Curtis
Curtis bragged to friends about the stabbing

Judge Hodson said: "There's nothing macho in carrying knives, it's the mark of a coward."

Shortly after the murder, the gang targeted Jamie Thompson, who was walking from a friend's house to meet his girlfriend. He was stabbed in the chest, but survived the attack.

Later, Curtis bragged to a friend that he said to one of the victims "Do you want to meet Mr Stanley?" - a reference to the red-handled craft knife he was carrying.

'Totally cowardly'

Mr Johnson and his fiancee Adele - who changed her name to Johnson after the murder - had been to a local pub that evening and were getting ready for bed when they heard shouting outside.

When he went to investigate a confrontation took place and he was stabbed.

Speaking after the sentencing, Det Ch Insp Roger Ford, of Northumbria Police, said: "I think the sentence does send out a really, really powerful message to the people of the North East and the people of the whole country that carrying knives is unacceptable and totally cowardly.

"It's clearly unacceptable to carry knives and these three people got their just deserts today."

All I feel is pure hatred for what they did
Fiancee Adele Johnson

However, Mr Johnson's father John said life should mean life.

He said: "They got 17, 16 and 13 years, which is a long time, but I want life to mean life.

"Kevin is not coming back and they should not come back.

"The judge said a lot of good things and they got more than we expected, but like I say, life to me should mean life and they should come out of prison in a box."

Kevin and his fiancee got engaged in December and were parents to a one-year-old son, Chaise.

Ms Johnson said of the killers: "I hate them with a vengeance. All I feel is pure hatred for what they did.

"Kev only got to see his son's first seven months. He will never see his son's first tooth, his first haircut or his first day of school."

Home video footage of Kevin Johnson


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