Three men and two teenagers have been jailed for the murders of two 17-year-olds after a “ferocious” ambush at a house party resulted in a “bloodbath”.
Dom Ansah was chased and hacked to death and Ben Gillham-Rice was stabbed multiple times in the Emerson Valley area of Milton Keynes on 19 October, after a group of five people arrived and began an attack within seconds.
Two others were stabbed and suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
Watch: Parents of murdered 17-year-olds say ‘no sentence will be enough’ for closure
Charlie Chandler, 23, Clayton Barker, 20, both of Bletchley, and teens Ben Potter and Jamie Chandler, the brother of Charlie, were convicted of murder and two counts of wounding with intent in December. Earl Bevans, 20, admitted two counts of murder and wounding before the trial.
Chandler, Barker and Bevans, of no fixed address, were given life in prison, with 27-, 28- and 27-year minimum terms respectively at Luton Crown Court on Wednesday.
Ben Potter, 17, of Westcroft, and Jamie Chandler, 17, of Beanhill, were given minimum terms of 22 years in detention.
During their trial, the court heard the five defendants were in or associated with a gang called B3 in West Bletchley.
They planned an ambush after getting tipped off that members of the rival M4 gang were at a party, and they arrived at the back of a house shortly after midnight.
Armed and with their faces covered, the group went inside and targeted males at the party in an “immediate and ferocious attack”, prosecutor Charlotte Newell told jurors.
The targets “had little or no time to react and little or no chance of protecting themselves,” she said.
“Within seconds of the arrival of the defendants’ group, one young man was dead, two had been sliced with a knife or knives, causing serious, but mercifully not fatal, injuries, and a fourth was running for his life.”
Gillham-Rice was stabbed six times in the living room, and jurors were shown pictures of the “scene of carnage” – described as a “bloodbath”.
Among the injuries he suffered was a 20cm-deep wound that damaged his heart.
Ansah, who Newell said “appeared to have been a particular focus of the defendants’ attention”, ran out of the house chased by two people.
Dashcam footage showed a man said to be Barker holding a machete at the time.
Ansah slipped and was “repeatedly sliced and stabbed as he lay on the ground”, Newell said.
Jurors heard that on top of the gang rivalry, an incident that happened a few years prior involving one of the teenage defendants may have triggered the episode.
Ansah was later named by the teenager as being involved in that incident, the court heard.
Previously, the court heard Potter had been stripped and assaulted in woodland when he was 14, and Jamie Chandler was stabbed a few months prior to the murders.
Both attacks were carried out by members of M4, which Ansah was said to be a member of.
Justice Spencer told Potter it “did not begin to justify your participation” in the killings, and said Ansah had been subjected to an “appallingly brutal sustained attack”, repeatedly hacked with a machete, and forced to run “quite literally for his life”.
Describing Barker, Potter and Jamie Chandler as “enthusiastic” B3 gang members, with Charlie Chandler and Bevans associated, the judge said: “The all-too-familiar background to these senseless and tragic killings was rivalry between gangs of young men, and the culture of violence and knives promoted on social media.”
Speaking after the sentencing, Gillham-Rice’s parents Jason Rice and Suzanne Gillham and Ansah’s mother Tracey paid tribute to their sons, who became friends after meeting at school aged four.
Gillham said: “That friendship was strong from day one, up until the fatal night they both lost their lives.”
Gillham-Rice was described as “very charismatic”, a football fan who “was extremely funny” and served as a second brother to Ansah’s twin sister Holly.
Ansah, who loved basketball, was described as full of joy, energy and a love for life, with his mother saying about 500 people attended his funeral.
She spent his final moment in hospital with him, and said: “We were lucky, we got three hours with him. It wasn’t enough. But he knew we were there and we got to tell him how much we love him.
“We didn’t say goodbye because we didn’t think he was going to go, he was talking, we thought he was going to be okay.
“It wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough. There was so much more I wanted to say.”
Rice said: “I drove to the party and I couldn’t get in, it was all cordoned off and I was just told there been a fatality there, and then one of his mates said to me it was Ben.
“You see in the films, your whole world comes around you and you think, ‘this is not happening, I’m going to wake up, this is not happening’… You live in a nightmare because you think it’s not true.”
Speaking about the jail terms, he added: “It gives you a little bit, maybe, of that chapter’s over, knowing that the people have done it are behind bars, but no sentence will be enough.”
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