Posted on December 14, 2007

Teenager Jailed for Life for Stabbing to Death Stranger Who Bumped Into Him at Bus Stop

London Daily Mail, December 14, 2007

A teenager has been jailed for a minimum of 14 years today for a “senseless and unprovoked” knife attack on a man who bumped into him as he cycled through a bus queue.

Rickell Patterson was just 16 when he stabbed and killed Timothy Smith in the centre of Nottingham in the early evening of May 1 this year.

Patterson, from the St Ann’s area of the city, was cycling on the pavement when his 40-year-old victim accidentally walked into his bike.

The teenager, who had admitted manslaughter but was convicted for murder, pulled a 3in (7.5cm) kitchen knife and stabbed Mr Smith once in the chest

Nottingham Crown Court heard that Mr Smith, a freelance journalist, had stepped back as he stood in the bus queue to read an electronic bus timetable and had knocked into Patterson’s bike.

Handing down a sentence of detention at Her Majesty’s Pleasure, with a minimum tariff of 14 years, Mr Justice Teare said: “This was a senseless and unprovoked act on an innocent and unsuspecting member of the public.

“The consequence of carrying a knife is that it is available for use and the fact that it is being carried is evidence that the carrier may be prepared to use it.

“Your actions show you were prepared to use it.”

The judge went on: “It was 6.30pm, it was daylight, and Timothy Smith was just one of many people waiting for the bus home after work.

“As you cycled along the bus queue, he stepped back to read the electronic bus timetable and got in your way, not realising you were there.

“Nothing he did justified any action from you, let alone his death.

“When he sought to protect himself from you, you took out the knife in your pocket and stabbed him once in the chest.”

Patterson had pleaded guilty to manslaughter, saying he stabbed Mr Smith in self-defence, but he was found guilty of murder earlier this month.

The teenager handed himself in to the police the following afternoon after his mother found out what had happened.

He also told the police where to find the bloodstained knife.

Speaking after the verdict earlier this month, Mr Smith’s family said their lives had been shattered by his murder.

His mother June, 77, said she was heartbroken.

“Does the person who did this have any idea at all of what he has done? Tim’s brother Chris and I are now serving a life sentence of misery and grief,” she said.

“Why was he taken from us for absolutely no reason? It was so trivial. Tim was a beautiful person—kind, gentle, honest and always smiling.”