A teenage girl who asked a gay barman to “pose for the camera” before she filmed her friends kicking him to death, was today found guilty of manslaughter.
The girl who can not be named for legal reasons and her co-defendants Reece Sargeant, 21, Darren Case, 18, a youth; aged 17, and the girl, aged 15 were found guilty of the manslaughter of the gay barman David Morley. They were also convicted of conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm. Barry Lee, 20, and another 17-year-old were cleared of all charges.
Mr Morley, 37, a survivor of the 1999 Soho nail bomb attack, was chatting with a friend, Alistair Whiteside, on the South Bank, when a gang pounced.
The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told David Morley that she was making a documentary about “happy slapping” before her gang of friends kicked him to death.
“Happy slapping”, a growing phenomenon in Britain, involves the recording of acts of violence on camera phones and distributing it amongst friends.
The court also heard that as Mr Morley lay on the ground unconscious, the girl “kicked his head as if it was a football”.
18 year old Darren Case, one of the gang told police that he and friends took part in at least 20 “happy slapping” crimes in the months leading up to the death of Mr Morley in October of last year.
The court heard that the gang later returned to a block of flats in Kennington, where they watched the video clips recorded by the teenage girl. The 17 year old youth told police: “at the time I thought it was funny.”
Mr Morley’s father, Jeff objects to the use of the term ‘happy slapping’ to describe the crime, he told the BBC: “it makes me angry that it’s described as happy slapping because that makes it sound as if it was something not very serious, what actually happened to David was a lot more than slapping.”
The teenage girl, the 17 year old youth, Case and Sargeant, were remanded in custody and will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on January 23.