Sheffield killer one step closer to freedom

Dale Robertson, 18, who was stabbed in the chest and died afteryouths clashed in Rokeby Drive, Parson Cross
Dale Robertson, 18, who was stabbed in the chest and died afteryouths clashed in Rokeby Drive, Parson Cross
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A teenage killer involved in a gang attack on a Sheffield street in which his victim was stabbed and beaten with lengths of wood and metal bars could be free after just seven years behind bars.

Seaon Thompson was 15 when he killed 18-year-old Dale Robertson at a birthday party in September 2008.

Dale Robertson

Dale Robertson

Dale, from Ecclesfield, had stepped in to break up a row over Xbox games being stolen at the party on Rokeby Drive, Parson Cross, when he was chased down the street by a mob.

Thompson, of Lydgate Lane, Crosspool, was found guilty of murder after a trial but his conviction was quashed on appeal.

Then, in an unexpected development on the day his re-trial was due to start, he pleaded guilty and was jailed for a minimum of nine years.

Now his legal team has successfully challenged the length of time he must serve behind bars, with judges slashing the term by two years.

KILLINGPR ''Seaon Thompson, convicted of the murder of Dale Robertson

KILLINGPR ''Seaon Thompson, convicted of the murder of Dale Robertson

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Lawyers argued keeping him locked up too long could lead to entrenchment in criminal culture and ruin progress he has made.

Mr Justice Wilkie, sitting at the Court of Appeal, said the steps Thompson had taken towards rehabilitation were not expected, and justified an early chance of parole.

The court heard Thompson had earned four GCSEs and taken a gym instructor’s course. He is also a race equalities and violence reduction representative.

His probation officer said he had a record of achievement ‘against the odds’.

Judge Wilkie said: “I am satisfied that what he has, so far, achieved in terms of addressing his offending behaviour and seeking out and taking educational attainments, his career prospects, and contributing positively to the running of establishments within which he has been housed, can be described as exceptional.

“Given the difficulties there were at the beginning of his sentence, that progress can properly be described as unforeseen.”

Thompson will be free to apply for release in 2016.