Teenager cleared of murdering former Highcliffe School students James Cutting
A TEENAGER charged with murdering a former Highcliffe School student, who was stabbed in Bournemouth, has been cleared.
James Cutting (31) died from his wounds in Boscombe Chine Gardens on the evening of 30th June 2020. He had been living in the town at the time.
A 16-year-old from London, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found not guilty of his murder, as well as two offences of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs.
The trial jury at Winchester Crown Court also cleared a 49-year-old Bournemouth man of assisting an offender, and drugs charges against a 19-year-old man from London were dropped after the CPS offered no evidence.
The jury heard Mr Cutting and another man had gone to the gardens to buy drugs and were involved in an altercation with a teenager. Mr Cutting was stabbed in the chest, and the other man required hospital treatment for stab wounds to his neck and upper body.
In his evidence, the 16-year-old said he had been set upon by the two men and had acted in self-defence. In relation to the drugs charges, the defendant and the 19-year-old said they had been exploited by a county lines drugs gang.
Their claims were referred to the NRM (National Referral Mechanism) Single Competent Authority responsible for tackling exploitation and abuse, which accepted they had been victims of modern slavery and subject to forced criminality.
Det. Insp. Wayne Seymour, of Dorset Police, said: “We carried out a full and thorough investigation into the sad death of James Cutting, as well as matters linked to it, and compiled detailed evidence for the court and jury to consider."
He added: “Our thoughts are very much with the family of Mr Cutting, who have been supported by officers throughout this investigation.”
In a statement, the family of Mr Cutting said: “On 30th June 2020 our lives were changed forever. Our James, a much-loved son, father and brother taken forever in such a brutal way.
“His family are left with a permanent void in our lives.”