‘Shocking in its brutality’: Teens jailed over fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Declan Cutler

Save articles for later

Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.

A teenager involved in the fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Declan Cutler will spend at least a decade in prison after a judge found the then 14-year-old repeatedly stabbed and kicked his victim in an unprovoked attack outside a house party in Melbourne’s north.

Three of the eight teenagers involved in the March 2022 attack faced the Supreme Court of Victoria on Tuesday, when a judge described the violent incident as frenzied and savage.

Bryan Beattie outside the Supreme Court last month. Beattie is the father of 16-year-old Declan Cutler (inset right) who was killed in March 2022.Credit: Jason South; Eddie Jim; Supplied

“The attack was frenzied, savage and totally unprovoked,” Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth said.

“It involved unprovoked, brutal violence on an unarmed teenager who was trying to run away at the time.

“Declan … was a total stranger to your group.”

Hollingworth said the eight teenagers involved in the attack had spent March 12, 2022, in Melbourne’s western suburbs before driving around in a stolen Mazda.

Declan Cutler, 16, was killed after leaving a house party in March 2022.

Some of the teens were affiliated with the 9ers youth gang and tensions had been simmering between them and rival group H-Town, based in the north, at the time.

On the same evening, Cutler attended a house party in Reservoir with a friend, who was affiliated with H-Town.

When the pair and another friend left the party in the early hours of the next morning, they were chased down by the eight teens.

About 2.30am, Cutler was separated in the chase and pulled to the ground, where he was repeatedly stabbed, kicked and stomped on.

The street where Declan Cutler died on March 13, 2022.Credit: Penny Stephens

Five of the offenders were armed with knives during the attack lasting nearly two minutes, which was captured on CCTV from a nearby home.

Cutler, Hollingworth said, had no affiliation with any gangs and instead appeared to have been targeted as he was nearest to his attackers.

“When they reached Declan, all eight got out and started to chase him. Declan tried to run away but was dragged by his jumper onto the nature strip,” Hollingworth said.

“Declan was lying on his back trying to fend off the vicious attack. The footage is absolutely shocking in its brutality.”

The attackers stole Cutler’s shoes before leaving him to die on the side of the road.

The next day, the Mazda used in the attack was set on fire.

“Unfortunately, violent knife crime committed by young offenders has become far too common,” Hollingworth said.

A post-mortem examination found Cutler had sustained 66 blunt-force injuries, 56 sharp-force injuries and 30 puncture wounds to his head, body and limbs.

Declan Cutler’s dad Bryan Beattie (centre) with family and friends outside the Supreme Court in August.Credit: Justin McManus

The death, Hollingworth said, had a profound impact on Cutler’s friends and family, who described him as a cheeky, happy and outgoing kid who loved to fish.

The judge said the sentences handed out to the offenders were in no way a reflection of the worth of Cutler’s life and noted there were different sentencing principles that applied to children to prioritise rehabilitation over general deterrents.

The court heard that the 14-year-old attacker – who is now 16 – was on bail at the time of the killing and had begun carrying knives in public in 2020. He was sentenced to 15 years in jail with a non-parole period of 10 years after pleading guilty to murder. The judge recommended he remain in youth detention until 21 before being moved to an adult prison.

Hollingworth said that in the aftermath of the attack, one of the offenders, a 16-year-old, looked up Cutler’s social media profile before searching the phrase, “is hell guaranteed for Muslims who commit murder?”

The other two offenders in court on Tuesday – aged 16 at the time of the attack but now 18 – received relatively lighter sentences. One was sentenced to four years in youth detention after pleading guilty to manslaughter, while the other was sentenced to three years and six months in youth detention after pleading guilty to intentionally causing serious injury.

The four other teens allegedly involved in the attack are due to face a judge-only trial later this year.

The youngest teen allegedly involved, who was 13 at the time, is awaiting a judicial decision on whether he can be tried for murder, Hollingworth said.

Our Breaking News Alert will notify you of significant breaking news when it happens. Get it here.

Most Viewed in National

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article