Following today's (5 Jan 2024) sentencing of two teenagers for the murder Owen Dunn, Wiltshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Philip Wilkinson, has called for a united response to tackle serious violence.
Owen, who was 18-years-old, died after being stabbed on December 4, 2022 in Mazurek Way, Swindon. He was also carrying a weapon, which was later found by paramedics.
Tyler Hunt, 18, of Park South, was sentenced to a minimum of 19 years in prison at Bristol Crown Court and a 15-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Mr Wilkinson said:
"Today’s sentence will never bring Owen back and this tragedy is something his family and friends will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
"I’d like to pay tribute to them for setting up Owen’s World in his name and using the circumstances surrounding his death to try and make our streets safer for young people across Swindon.
"However, today’s sentencing does send out the message that if you are involved in gang violence in Wiltshire, you will be caught, and the consequences will have a serious impact upon your life.
"The length of the sentences reflects the lack of remorse shown by the offenders and I seriously hope they use their time in prison to think about the lives they’ve ruined, including their own, and to find a way to make a more meaningful contribution to society upon their release.
"The question for my office and our partners, is how we make the right interventions to prevent gang related violence escalating to a point where it ends in a tragedy such as this.
"In Swindon, we have one of the country’s leading Youth Justice Services, which is working hard to prevent young people from making the wrong choices in life and if they do, providing them with the help and support they need to become productive members of society and repair the harm they may have caused.
"Recently, my office has funded “Blunt Truth” sessions in schools across Wiltshire and Swindon, where the police work in partnership with the NHS to educate pupils about the potential dangers involved with carrying a knife and what to do if a friend or relative is stabbed.
"The only effective way to tackle serious violence on our streets is through working together. I implore anyone who knows of friends or relatives who carry knives to get in touch, because we can help and offer them a way out before it’s too late."