Monday, October 25, 2004

Colwyn Bay - Skateboarder killer staying in Colwyn Bay jailed for life

Last Updated: Thursday, 21 October, 2004, 11:11 GMT 12:11 UK 
Skateboarder killer jailed for life
Christopher Johnson (Pic: Daily Post)
Johnson presented a 'substantial public risk', the judge said
A motorist who murdered a teenage skateboarder in a road rage attack has been sentenced to life in jail.Ben Jones, 18, was stabbed to death as he walked with a friend to a skateboard park in Colwyn Bay.
Christopher Johnson, 27, from Old Trafford in Greater Manchester, admitted killing Mr Jones, at Mold Crown Court on Wednesday.
Mr Justice Curtis said Johnson was a menace to the public and had carried out a "cold-blooded killing".
He recommended Johnson serve a minimum of 16 years and nine months in prison.
He said: "This was not a case of an accident and there was no true provocation, especially as it was you who started the whole trouble.
"You present a substantial risk to the public, particularly motorists, because you have an ungovernable temper and you are likely to go off the rails at any time you consider someone has done you a disservice."
Johnson had 15 previous convictions and carried out two road rage attacks within a week of each other in 1998.
 A book can be written on the times [Ben] has been deprived of through one person's disregard of the value of life 
Christine Jones
Speaking on the court steps, Ben's mother Christine, accompanied by her other son Neil, said the family could not imagine life without him.
"To attempt to describe for you the impact of our loss is impossible. A book could be written on the joy of Ben in our lives - of the smile that all remember.
"A book can also be written on the time ahead and times he has been deprived of through one person's disregard of the value of life."
She praised North Wales Police's "quick action and quick arrest" of Christopher Johnston.
"We always felt we lived in a small place and felt quite safe," she added.
Benjamin Jones
Ben Jones was the youngest of three children and a keen sportsman
"This has changed and perhaps without us being aware we are catching up with what we used to think of as the problems of larger areas."
Mr Jones, a catering student, was attacked in June this year.
On Wednesday, the court heard that Johnson stabbed the teenager in the heart during a confrontation on Dundonald Road.
Johnson, a father of two, was driving with his girlfriend when they passed Mr Jones and a group of friends.
He leapt out of the car to threaten the group, two of whom were on skateboards including Mr Jones, after nearly hitting one of them.
Robert Trevor-Jones, prosecuting, said: "As the defendant passed in his car at a modest speed, he came very close to touching one of the group.
"The defendant then parked up at the end of the road while the other group carried on walking.
Colwyn Bay street
Police cordoned off the street where the attack took place
The defendant got out of his car and threatened to assault him.
"His girlfriend told him to leave it and the group turned their back on him and carried on, although there may have been sniggering or laughing.
"That appears to have irritated the defendant who then asked provocatively: 'Which of you is the dickhead?'
"That prompted Ben Jones to turn round and ask: 'Who are you calling a dickhead?'
"That was a comment which cost him his life.
"The defendant then went up to him fumbling for something in his pocket and placed his left hand on Ben Jones's chest. With his right arm he stabbed him in the chest."
Mr Jones fled down the road clutching his chest before collapsing. He died a short time later in hospital.
Mr Trevor-Jones told the court that Johnson tried to persuade friends whom he was staying with in Colwyn Bay not to tell anyone he had been there.
Peter Wright QC, defending, said Johnson "sincerely regretted his conduct".
Mr Justice Curtis, said: "This is a very bad case of murder."
Mr Jones was pronounced dead after being taken to Glan Clwyd Hospital, Bodelwyddan, by ambulance.

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