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Named for the first time: Teenager facing life in prison for murdering his mother by stabbing her 94 times and severing her spineKieren Smith turned on Leah Whittle, stabbing her with at least one knifeThe 42-year-old had 'little chance' to defend herself
Police called it a 'particularly horrific and sustained attack'
21:13 GMT, 10 December 2012
Violent death: Leah Whittle, 42, was stabbed to death at her house by her teenage son Kieren Smith. He will be sentenced tomorrow
A 17-year-old youth has been found guilty of the murder of his mother who he stabbed to death after losing his temper.
Kieren Smith killed 42-year-old Leah Whittle at her home in Benville Road, Weymouth, Dorset, on July 21.
A jury found him guilty of murder at Winchester Crown Court today following an eight-day trial.
Smith is due to be sentenced at the same court tomorrow.
Smith inflicted knife wounds across her head, back and front in the two bedroom flat they shared, jurors were told.
The teenager, who has ‘an interest in knives’, fled the flat in the early hours, climbing out of his first floor bedroom window and down a drainpipe.
Following the conviction, Detective Inspector Marcus Hester, of Dorset Police, said: 'This case involved a particularly horrific and sustained attack on a woman who was unable to defend herself.
'This is a very tragic case where a young man, through his own violent actions, has killed his mother. He now has to face the consequences of these actions as well as to live with the loss of his mother.'
The trial heard that Smith repeatedly attacked his mother in the flat they shared.
Richard Smith QC, prosecuting, told the jury that the defendant, who was 16 at the time, had an interest in knives and had a temper but he said the reason for the alleged murder would never be known.
Smith had denied the killing and said that men came down from Doncaster in Yorkshire to execute his mother because his brother had got into trouble over a drug debt.
He told friends and the police that he had seen the man or men attack his mother through a bathroom door and when they had left he had bolted the door, taken some money from his mother’s purse and escaped through a window and down a drainpipe.
Mr Smith told the jury that the defendant had spoken to a girlfriend in the hours before his mother was murdered to say she only had a couple of days to live because of the problems over the drug debt.
But Mr Smith alleged that this was just 'setting a scene for some sort of attack on his mother' and that the teenager had either formed a murderous intent or the bravado of the conversation had spurred him on to commit murder because he was 'brooding' over something that had happened between them.
Smith told friends of his 'escape' when he met up with them shortly before 3am, but they did not call the police or an ambulance. In an earlier phone call, at around 10pm that evening, Smith had told a
female friend in that group his mum would be executed and had 'days to
Experts believe Ms Whittle was 'immobilised' early on in a horrific killing at her own son’s hands. A blade wielded by Smith severed her spinal cord, a post mortem of her bloodstained body revealed.
'Interest in knives': Winchester Crown Court heard the teenager turned on his mother, stabbing her in the head, back and front and then blaming mystery men from Yorkshire
There were no injuries on her arms or
hands, suggesting she was rendered unconscious early in the attack.
Smith then took money from his mother’s handbag, changed his trousers
and left through the window.
He told his three friends – all girls – that cuts on his hands were from scaling down the drainpipe.
But forensics experts found traces of his blood inside the flat.
Giving evidence, the girls recalled
Smith’s socks had been soaked in blood, and that despite the
events their old school friend had acted as if nothing had happened.
Smith rang police to report his
mother’s murder the next day, but turned his phone off and took the
battery and SIM card out after giving the address. The murder weapons have never been recovered.
Smith – who could not be named for
legal reasons before his conviction today – said he threw the knife the
gang used into bushes as he fled.
Unemployed Ms Whittle had moved back to Dorset after living in Yorkshire until her marriage had broken down.
court heard that her relationship with her son was often less than
harmonious but the teenager told police the pair were close.