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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 December 2005, 19:26 GMT
Architect's killer sent to prison
Antwya Bennett
Antwya Bennett cannot apply for parole for at least 14 years
A 17-year-old youth has been ordered to be detained indefinitely for the murder of an architect in Birmingham.

Paul Tanner, 23, was stabbed in St Paul's churchyard in the Jewellery Quarter on 4 March.

A judge at Birmingham Crown Court lifted reporting restrictions on naming Antwya Bennett, of Newtown, Birmingham, who pleaded guilty to murder.

Two juveniles, aged 14 and 16, admitted robbing Mr Tanner and were sentenced to two-and-a-half years each.

Predatory robberies

Mr Tanner was stabbed as he made his way through St Paul's churchyard on his way home from a night out. He suffered internal bleeding and died in hospital from stab wounds.

The 23-year-old, originally from Blakedown, Worcestershire, died 24 hours after the attack near to his Northwood Street home.

Stephen Linehan QC, prosecuting, told the court Mr Tanner offered no resistance to Bennett, who lunged forward to plunge a knife into his motionless victim's abdomen.

Mr Linehan said Bennett, then aged 16, had teamed up with two other youngsters, then aged 14 and 15, to commit a string of predatory robberies.

Paul Tanner
Paul Tanner was stabbed in the chest

Bennett, of Newtown, Birmingham, admitted murder at an earlier hearing and was ordered to be detained for at least 14 years before being considered for parole.

Mr Justice Mitting told the three defendants: "You three young men set out to commit predatory robberies on young men and women returning home after a night out in Birmingham's entertainment district.

"You targeted those who would be likely to have things worth stealing.

"You, Bennett, armed yourself with a knife with a sharp six-inch blade. Each of you knew it was carried."

The judge added that the defendants had "operated as a team" during an earlier mugging and the murder, with Bennett intimidating victims and the younger boys keeping watch and removing belongings.

'Never ever forgive'

Speaking at a news conference at West Midlands Police headquarters, Paul's father John launched an attack on the sentences handed to the gang.

Mr Tanner, 56, said: "I am numb, I am shocked. I have spoken to Paul's two brothers, and his mum and they are falling apart.

"The sentence is not enough - but we never the thought the sentence would be enough.

"I have listened to people talking about forgiveness - we will never ever, ever forgive these three for what they have done to Paul and us.

"I feel a deep and utter loathing for them. In these politically correct times you are not supposed to talk of revenge, but I want revenge and retribution."


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