Teenager found guilty of murder of father-of-two, 31, who stabbed to death after ‘exchange of words’

A teenage boy who was found guilty of murdering a young Hertfordshire father-of-two in a ‘brutal’ stabbing has been named.

Byron Eugene Pollock, now 18, along with another teenager, 15, attacked Christopher Hewett, 31, in Meadow Way, Stevenage, following an ‘exchange of words’ on the evening of February 12 this year.

Sadly, Mr Hewett suffered stab wounds to the chest and died the same night of the attack.

Pollock, from Stevenage, who was 17 at the time of the attack, was found guilty of murder and given a life sentence at St Alban’s Crown Court today.

Byron Eugene Pollock, now 18, (pictured) has been named as the teenager who was found guilty of murdering Hertfordshire father-of-two Christopher Hewett, 31, in February this year

Byron Eugene Pollock, now 18, (pictured) has been named as the teenager who was found guilty of murdering Hertfordshire father-of-two Christopher Hewett, 31, in February this year

Byron Eugene Pollock, now 18, (pictured) has been named as the teenager who was found guilty of murdering Hertfordshire father-of-two Christopher Hewett, 31, in February this year

On the evening of the killing, Mr Hewett and his cousin had been walking from a Stevenage shopping centre to his sister’s house when they passed a group of four young people.

Words were exchanged between Mr Hewett and the group before he carried on his journey.

A short time later, Mr Hewett and his cousin were approached and attacked on Meadow Way by the 15-year-old, who had a baseball bat.

While Mr Hewett and the teen were scuffling, the 17-year-old approached with a knife from behind and stabbed him several times. The knife was discarded in a nearby bush.

Mr Hewett managed to stumble into his sister’s house in Stevenage where he collapsed in the front room at 9.15pm. He was taken to hospital but died shortly after arrival.

Christopher Hewett, 31, (pictured) was attacked by teenagers on the evening of February 12 this year in Meadow Way, Stevenage, following an 'exchange of words' and was stabbed by Pollock several times from behind in a 'brutal' attack

Christopher Hewett, 31, (pictured) was attacked by teenagers on the evening of February 12 this year in Meadow Way, Stevenage, following an 'exchange of words' and was stabbed by Pollock several times from behind in a 'brutal' attack

Christopher Hewett, 31, (pictured) was attacked by teenagers on the evening of February 12 this year in Meadow Way, Stevenage, following an ‘exchange of words’ and was stabbed by Pollock several times from behind in a ‘brutal’ attack

The 17-year-old boy, Byron Eugene Pollock, from Stevenage, has since turned 18 and can be named following his sentencing.

Pollock and the 15-year-old defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were both charged with murder, which they both denied.

The 15-year-old boy was cleared of murder but was instead found guilty of manslaughter.

During the sentencing, the court heard Pollock stabbed Mr Hewett, stating he had only done so to help the 15-year-old escape, and now regretted his actions.

After a three-week trial, a jury verdict on July 22 this year at Luton Crown Court found Pollock guilty of murder and the second teenage boy guilty of manslaughter in connection with the death of Mr Hewett.

A third person, Ryan Lee, aged 20, of Wildwood Lane, Stevenage, had been found guilty of assisting the offenders.

Pollock and Lee today (August 27), have now been sentenced at St Alban’s Crown Court.  

Mr Hewett leaves behind a baby son, who was five-months-old at the time of his death, and a five-year-old daughter. During the sentencing, a victim impact statement was read to the court on behalf of Mr Hewett’s family.

It stated: ‘We are left with complete devastation. All we have left of Christopher is photos, videos, memories and a headstone.

‘I feel numb and brain-dead. I hope one day I will be able to grieve and find some kind of happiness.

‘I feel the impact of Christopher’s death will never go away. Christopher was very funny, lovable and very loving.’

Mr Hewett managed to stumble into his sister's house in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, (street pictured) where he collapsed in the front room at 9.15pm and later died in hospital

Mr Hewett managed to stumble into his sister's house in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, (street pictured) where he collapsed in the front room at 9.15pm and later died in hospital

Mr Hewett managed to stumble into his sister’s house in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, (street pictured) where he collapsed in the front room at 9.15pm and later died in hospital

Mr Hewett and his cousin had had ‘the terrible misfortune’ to come across the defendants that night by the shops, Judge Michael Kay QC stated.

The boys had been drinking and smoking cannabis and following the exchange of words, wrongly perceived that they had been shown ‘disrespect by the older men’, which led to the attack.

The court heard that there was a ‘significant degree of planning or premeditation’ before the attack and that the stabbing was ‘repeated and ferocious’.

Judge Kay told Pollock that the attack on Mr Hewett was a ‘brutal and savage attack’ and concluded that he had ‘inflicted a wound with an intention to kill.’

‘The only view I have of you is that you are an extremely dangerous young man,’ Judge Kay added.

The court heard that Pollock had a previous ‘serious’ conviction when he was aged 14, involving a similar crime.

His previous conviction of wounding with intent of causing GBH involved a stabbing from behind. He received a four-year detention sentence and was released a year prior to the murder offence. He remained on license at the time of the murder in February 2021.

Judge Kay then told Pollock: ‘At the time you murdered Christopher Hewett you were 17. You have now turned 18.’

A third person, Ryan Lee, aged 20, (pictured) of Wildwood Lane, Stevenage, was found guilty of assisting the offenders after driving the teenagers to Cambridgeshire following the murder

A third person, Ryan Lee, aged 20, (pictured) of Wildwood Lane, Stevenage, was found guilty of assisting the offenders after driving the teenagers to Cambridgeshire following the murder

A third person, Ryan Lee, aged 20, (pictured) of Wildwood Lane, Stevenage, was found guilty of assisting the offenders after driving the teenagers to Cambridgeshire following the murder

He added that he would therefore sentence him as someone who was 17 years old, which was when he carried out the killing.

‘There is only one sentence in law for the charge of murder for someone aged 17 and that is detention at her Majesty’s pleasure, which is the equivalent of a life sentence and that is the sentence I pass on you,’ Judge Kay said.

Pollock subsequently was given the equivalent of a life sentence with a minimum term of 19 years before parole would be considered. If he is released, he will be subject to license for life.

Meanwhile, Lee was found guilty of assisting an offender, after driving the teenagers to Cambridgeshire following the murder.

The two teens were arrested in the car on February 14 after they made their way to Wakefield. They claimed that they were ‘on their way to hand themselves in’.

The court heard that Lee ‘knew full well’ that the teenagers were involved in a ‘serious incident to violence’ and had taken it ‘upon himself to arrange transport out of the area, thereby helping the boys avoid capture.’

The court also heard that Lee had two other previous convictions of supplying class A drugs, as well as possession of a knife. He had been found in possession of the knife whilst on bail for his sentencing for this trial.

Lee was handed a consecutive sentence for assisting an offender and possession of a knife for a total of 2 years and 8 months in a young offenders institution.

Half of the sentence he will spend in custody while the other half he will be released on license.

The 15-year-old boy is due to be sentenced on September 6. 

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