Schoolboy from ‘loving family’ who stabbed classmate, 15, through heart detained for life (2024)

A 15-year-old schoolboy from a “loving family” who stabbed a fellow pupil through the heart has been detained for life by a judge who asked “how bad have things become?”.

Alfie Lewis, 15, was killed outside a primary school “in full view” of students in the Horsforth area of Leeds last November.

Bardia Shojaeifard, who was 14 at the time, was found guilty of murdering Alfie by a Leeds Crown Court jury in April.

On Friday, Shojaeifard, who attended the same school as his victim and was not involved with gangs or drugs, was detained for life with a minimum term of 13 years at the same court.

He had admitted stabbing Alfie with a 13cm-long kitchen knife he had taken from home, but denied murder, claiming he was scared for his life.

Shojaeifard can be named publicly for the first time after the judge, Mr Justice Cotter, lifted reporting restrictions preventing him from being identified.

Mr Justice Cotter said: “Many must have been and still are asking the question how it comes to pass that a young man such as this carries and uses a knife in these dreadful circ*mstances and wondering how far the scourge of knife crime will permeate through our youth unless more is done to prevent it.

“If a seemingly normal boy of 14 carries a knife to school and uses it on a boy in the same school year how bad have things become?”

He said lifting the defendant’s anonymity would help in the “vitally important debate about the scourge of knife crime, among young people in particular”.

In a statement released after the sentencing hearing, Alfie’s family said knife crime was an “epidemic” affecting all children.

They added: “Our efforts now must go on trying to influence the changes which are needed to the law to stop our babies being killed so senselessly.”

Schoolboy from ‘loving family’ who stabbed classmate, 15, through heart detained for life (1)

Mr Justice Cotter said people would be wondering how a young boy like Shofaeifard, who came from a “loving and supportive family” could commit such an “extraordinary” crime.

He said that Shojaeifard was a “normal 14-year-old boy” who had no involvement in drugs or gangs, and did not suffer from mental health issues.

Youth workers described Shojaeifard as a “polite, intelligent and articulate” boy who “could have done well at school” and had thepotential to”thrive academically”.

The judge added: “Unlike Alfie you had no social, emotional or mental needs and when you behaved badly at school it was your choice to do so.”

The judge noted however that the schoolboy had a “worrying interest in knives” and police found several pictures on his phone of him holding them.

Another photo showed Shojaeifard posing with a black-handled knife that had been photoshopped into his hand.

Schoolboy from ‘loving family’ who stabbed classmate, 15, through heart detained for life (2)

Nicholas Lumley KC, mitigating, said Shojaeifard’s parents were a “utterly decent, supportive, loving” couple who were “thriving in this adoptive country”.

Addressing the defendant directly as she read her victim impact statement in court, Alfie’s own mother Heather Lane said: “No sentence will ever be enough for what you have done. I will never, ever forgive you.”

Ms Lane sobbed as she said: “We laughed, danced and smiled, we loved each other for 15 years and I thought we would for the rest of my life.”

During the trial, prosecutor Craig Hassall KC said Alfie had been walking down the street to meet friends after leaving Horsforth School for the day when the defendant attacked him.

Schoolboy from ‘loving family’ who stabbed classmate, 15, through heart detained for life (3)

He said witnesses recalled Alfie looking “surprised and shocked” and saying: “What are you doing?” as the incident unfolded close to St Margaret’s Primary School just before 3pm on Nov 7 2023.

The prosecutor said: “He was approached by (the defendant), and stabbed twice – once in the chest and once in the leg.

“He collapsed and died in the road close to the primary school in full view of scores of pupils leaving school and the people who were waiting to collect them.”

He told the jury the defendant, who dropped the murder weapon close to the primary school,was captured onCCTV fleeing the scene.

Schoolboy from ‘loving family’ who stabbed classmate, 15, through heart detained for life (4)

The court heard all the witnesses were “consistent” in saying that Alfie was “not the aggressor” that day.

The defendant told the jury he was scared of Alfie after two incidents in the months before.

Mr Justice Cotter said he simply did not accept Shojaeifard’s evidence that he was “trying to scare Alfie away and swung the knife aimlessly”.

He said one witness described Shojaeifard’s attack as “vicious” and that he was “trying as much as he could to inflict some sort of damage to Alfie”.

He added: “Knives have stolen so many lives, and you and others must understand how dangerous this obsession is.

“Without your interest in knives Alfie would be here today.”

Schoolboy from ‘loving family’ who stabbed classmate, 15, through heart detained for life (2024)
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