Teenagers jailed for life for random attacks

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LONDON, Nov 23 (Reuters) Three teenagers were jailed for life today after stabbing a father to death and wounding another man in what police described as five minutes of random violence.

Kevin Johnson, 22, died after confronting the youths outside his Sunderland home.

Minutes after the stabbing, they carried out another random attack, stabbing a man on his way to a petrol station. He survived, despite a wound to his chest.

Both were left for dead after the attacks, which occurred in the early hours of May 19, the court heard.

Tony Hawkes, 17, Dean Curtis, 19, and Jordan Towers, 16, all from Sunderland, were found guilty of murder and wounding with intent at Newcastle Crown Court.

Hawkes was sentenced to a minimum of 16 years, Curtis to a minimum of 17 years and Towers to at least 13 years.

Johnson's father, John, said outside court: ''It's is a long time, but it's not enough. I will continue with my campaign: life for a life.'' Johnson, who worked for a demolition company, was inside his home in Pennywell with his partner Adele and baby son Chaise when he heard a disturbance.

He was attacked and had a brick thrown at him before being stabbed. He died soon afterwards in hospital.

Five minutes later, police received a call saying another man, in his 20s, had been stabbed without warning.

The knife, believed to have been a small kitchen knife, was never recovered, but DNA on the coat of the second victim matched that of Johnson.

Detective Chief Inspector Roger Ford, in charge of the inquiry, said: ''This was a brutal and cowardly murder. These teenagers had been drinking beforehand before carrying out a sustained and vicious attack.

''The fact these defendants can leave a man lying dying in the street and then go and attack someone else moments later shows their total lack of control and speaks volumes about their attitude to others.'' Johnson's partner Adele said: ''Kev only got to see his son's first seven months. He will never see his son's first tooth, his first haircut or his first day of school. Chaise will never have his own memories of his dad, just other people's.'' Reuters TB VP0105

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