In a valiant display of devotion in an attempt to keep her son safe, Janet Brown packed Harley’s bags and moved him to Huddersfield.

After describing Harley when he was younger as clever with an “obsession with books,” the mum said they had sought out help when his behaviour changed, telling Leeds Crown Court on Monday: “He would be out late and would jump from his bedroom window to go out. He began going missing and the longest period for two weeks. I contacted the youth offending team with concerns he was being groomed.

“I was helped to get him away from the area. I wanted to keep him safe…I gave up everything to make sure Harley was safe.”

Read more: Harley Brown sentencing live as teen killers get life for ‘unprovoked, merciless attack’

Harley made the move in 2020 and soon after Janet and her youngest son joined him. In her statement, Janet described Harley’s behaviour in Huddersfield, telling the court he was a “kind-mannered boy” who “tried to pick people up when they were down.” She said: “He had a kind heart” but added: “After a short period of time, things began to happen. I had my window smashed, our neighbours did. Someone tried to break into our house and Harley wasn’t himself and began being disrespectful to me.”

Harley once again moved in with his uncle and despite all his mother had done, he met his death at the hands of two other teenagers carrying large machetes.

The 17-year-old and 15-year-old boys – who cannot be named for legal reasons – have both been handed life sentences with minimum terms of 14 years and six months and ten years and three months.

Leeds Crown Court
Leeds Crown Court

There was evidence, the court heard, of the younger boy being exploited by “other, older offenders.”

As she sentenced the pair, The Honourable Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb DBE said the boy “had no grudge against Harley” but decided to challenge him “on behalf of others he believed Harley owed money.”

It was said he habitually carried a knife after being encouraged by others to do so.

The judge said: “There is no good reason for carrying a knife in public. It isn’t big, it isn’t tough. It’s a path to despair and destruction. It didn’t make Harley Brown safe – it led to his death. It didn’t make these defendants safe. They will lose a significant part of their live sin custody and they will have on their conscience they took another young person’s life. For what? For nothing.

“The simple truth is that only knives that are carried can be used. Only knives that can be used can kill young people like Harley…

“The law says a clear and firm message: Young people must heed it, they must listen to the law’s message rather than those liars and manipulators who tell them to carry knife.”

Following the sentencing Detective Superintendent Alan Weekes, who led enquiries for West Yorkshire Police, said: “The murder of Harley sadly stands as a terrible example of the dreadful consequences of knife crime.

“His attackers pursued him from the shop and ran him down to Maple Street where he was subjected to a savage attack, sustaining what proved to be fatal injuries. These males were prepared to use appalling violence, almost on a whim, and anyone prepared to act in such a way clearly has no place on the streets. “

Chief Superintendent Jim Griffiths District Commander of Kirklees Police, said: “Knife crime thankfully continues to fall in Kirklees with a 21 per cent reduction in knife offences involving people under 25 in the last 12 months. We realise however, that is clearly no consolation to victims or the relatives of victims in appalling offences such as these.

“It is chilling that some young people feel it is acceptable to act in this way, carry weapons and inflict such savage violence on each other. We must remember that those who do so are very much in the minority, but very much appreciate the fear and concern these incidents cause.

“We and colleagues in the Violence Reduction Partnership are in the midst of a massive programme to reduce knife crime in West Yorkshire through both education and enforcement action against those determined to carry and use knives.

“Those education initiatives have now reached tens of thousands of children across the force area and we continue to ask for help from communities to tell us about those carrying these weapons.”

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