Wednesday, 26 June 2019
Thursday, 17 November 2016

Wa-ays Dhaye killers get more jail time

Government's chief law officer said sentences not long enough

Report: Paul Janik. Photographs: Thames Valley Police

Two of the teenagers involved in the savage stabbing to death of a Slough teenager received longer jail sentences following a legal appeal by a government minister. The third teenager is already serving a 19 years sentence.

The Murder

On Bank Holiday Monday, 31 August 2015, an 18 years-old Slough teenager was walking home from Slough railway station after spending the day at Notting Hill Carnival in London.

Three 18 years-old killers, all from High Wycombe, had driven to Slough and parked in Leiston Spur off Thurston Road which is on the north side of Oatlands Drive (the continuation of Sheffield Road) in the north-west of Slough.

Circa 23:10 hours, the killers spotted their intended target at the junction of Thurston Road and Waterbeach Road. They emerged from their car and attacked Wa-ays Dhaye with their knives, savagely and repeatedly stabbing him. They showed no mercy, no remorse and no humanity.

Thinking they would get away with their brutal attack, the killers got back in their car and sped-away to their High Wycombe homes. A few days latter they burnt their car to destroy evidence of their shocking crime.

They left Wa-ays Dhaye critically injured on the ground covered in blood and dripping blood from his multiple wounds. One stabbing had penetrated his abdomen and severed his aorta, the main artery carrying fresh blood from his heart. That caused massive internal bleeding.

A member of the public telephoned the ambulance service and the police.

Ambulance paramedics worked frantically in the street trying to save Wa-ays' life. He was then rushed to Wexham Park Hospital for emergency treatment.

Sadly the next day Wa-ays, the bright ex-Beechwood School pupil destined for university, died from his appalling injuries.

The arrests and trial

Khianni Gordon and Kaneel Huggins were arrested on 5 September 2015; Antwon Clarke on 21 September.

After a 5 weeks trial at Reading Crown Court, all three were convicted on Friday, 8 April 2016.

Antwon Clarke was found guilty of manslaughter and given 9 years in jail - later extended by the Appeal Court to 15 years.

Kaneel Huggins was found guilty of manslaughter and given 10 years in jail - later extended by the Appeal Court to 16 years.

Khianni Gordon was found guilty of murder and given a life sentence with a minimum of 19 years. The government did not appeal against this sentence.

Statement from Wa-ays Dhaye's family

Wa-ays Dhaye was born on the 29 July 1997 in 's-Hertogenbosch, Holland and he lived in Slough for around 10 years. On the 31st August 2015, he was murdered, at the young age of 18.

Wa-ays was the light of our lives. We are all heartbroken and devastated by his killing, which happened around the corner from our home. The pain is unimaginable.

No parent should have to bury their child. No parent should have to say their child was murdered.

Wa-ays was the youngest of the family and his older siblings all helped raise him as he was considerably younger than them.

He was loving, kind, thoughtful and always up for a laugh. He was a good Muslim teenager who did not drink or do any drugs.

Wa-ays was an intelligent, ambitious, creative, sociable young man with such a bright future.

He had great aspirations and had been accepted to study computer science at Hertfordshire University, which he was due to begin in September 2015.

We were so proud of him, the child of a refugee, pursuing higher education, an opportunity his parents never had.

Wa-ays was very much loved by all his family friends and schoolmates. This was apparent at his funeral prayer which was attended by hundreds of people. He was very much loved by the community, by his friends and by his family. All these people who were part of his life share a part of this deep loss.

After the funeral there was a man who came to our house whom we did not know. He told us that Wa-ays found him in a park on his way home and could see he was ill. Wa-ays spoke to this man kindly and walked him all the way to his house and this gentleman came to us to express his sadness upon hearing of Wa-ays' death. This is just a small example of what of good person Wa-ays Dhaye was.

We take solace in our religion and our belief of a life hereafter. We will never as a family get over this painful loss. Our hope is that these murderers who killed our sweet boy are punished for the cowardly crime they have committed.

We would like to give our thanks to prosecutor John Price and his junior, Mike Roques, the Crown Prosecution Service, everyone who was involved in the Thames Valley Police investigation, especially our Family Liaison Officers, Det Con Colin McCarlie and Det Con Densel McIntosh and the witnesses who gave evidence. We would also like to thank the residents of Slough and everyone else who has supported us.

Post-trial police statement

Detective Chief Inspector Kevin Brown of Thames Valley Police's Major Crime Unit said:

As a result of taunts over Twitter and a minimal altercation at Notting Hill Carnival between two groups of youths, Gordon, Huggins and Clarke from High Wycombe travelled from Notting Hill to Slough, in a car loaned to Huggins, to lie in wait for the other group at Slough Railway Station.

The three of them left Wa-ays dying in the street and it was members of the public who found him and came to his aid. All three defendants travelled back to High Wycombe and two days later Gordon and Huggins took the car and burnt it out in Marlow, destroying evidence.

Wa-ays' family have had to endure not only the tragic loss of their loved one, but also the trauma of a court case in order to see those responsible for Wa-ays' death brought to justice.

Post-trial Crown Prosecution Service statement

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said:

The attack is believed to be motivated by a dispute over social media between Gordon and Wa-ays, and a confrontation, which had taken place earlier that evening between the two groups of friends at the carnival.

Gordon, Clarke, and Huggins all answered 'no comment' during police interviews. They were all forensically linked to Wa-ays' death with DNA, telephone evidence (call data and cell site analysis), Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and CCTV, but all denied murder. However, they have today been found guilty of murder and manslaughter despite their denials.

The consequences of this incident highlight the significant danger of carrying knives.

We know that nothing will bring Wa-ays back to his family and friends, but we hope that today's convictions and sentences bring them at least a small sense that justice has been done. Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time.

Longer Jail Sentences

The government's chief law officer, the Attorney General, currently the Conservative Member of Parliament for Kenilworth and Southam in Warwickshire, Jeremy Wright QC, appealed to the Appeal Court (Criminal Division) stating the sentences of Antwon Clarke and Kaneel Huggins were too lenient.

On Tuesday, 15 November 2016, the court, comprising Lady Justice Sharp, Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing and Mr Justice Knowles, agreed. They increased the jail sentence of Antwon Clarke from 9 to 15 years and Kaneel Huggins from 10 to 16 years.

Afterwards the Attorney General said:

These offenders knowingly participated in the plan to assault and injure Wa’ays Dhaye knowing full well that really serious harm or death could be caused.

Knife crime is a real scourge of our society and it’s important that prison terms for this type of crime reflect the seriousness of the offending.