Jailed: Four given life sentences for murder of Daniel Laskos

Daniel Laskos

The four defendants convicted of the murder of Daniel Laskos have each been given life sentences, with minimum terms ranging between 14 years and 24 years - Credit: Met Police

The four people found guilty of murdering 16-year-old Daniel Laskos have been given life sentences.

Daniel was killed after being attacked outside Church Road News and Wine convenience store in Harold Wood on May 7 last year.

Joshua Kerr, 19, of Birchanger Road, South Norwood; Callum Hands, 20, of Vincent Road, Dagenham; Rakeem Green-Matthews, 19, of Gulderose Road, Harold Wood; and a 16-year-old boy who cannot be named were convicted at the Old Bailey on April 1.

An address at Armstrong Avenue, Woodford Green, has previously been provided for Kerr.

Two other men from Harold Wood were acquitted.

The four returned to the same court today - Thursday, April 7 - to be sentenced by HHJ Munro QC. 

Addressing the court, she said: "The facts of this case are all too familiar to those of us who work at this court.

"Yet again the life of a young teenager has been snuffed out by the needless actions of young men, who think it’s okay to carry and use weapons to inflict fatal harm on others for some trivial reason which it is impossible for mature adults to fathom.” 

Kerr, Hands, Green-Matthews and the 16-year-old boy were sentenced to "custody for life", albeit each with a different minimum term before they can be considered for release.

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"The minimum terms which I finally arrive at must reflect your individual roles and antecedents," said the judge.

One factor in sentencing was the judge's determination that Kerr had the "intent to kill", an intention she concluded Hands, Green-Matthews and the 16-year-old boy did not have.

All four were given total terms which reflected time already served in custody.

Kerr was handed a minimum term of 24 years, with 23 years and 225 days to serve.

Hands was handed a minimum term of 22 years for the murder; however, he was also sentenced for driving offences which he had previously admitted.

This increased Hands' total sentence - with deductions for time served - to 22 years, eight months and 25 days.

Green-Matthews was given a minimum term of 21 years, with 20 years and 42 days to serve.

The 16-year-old was given a lesser minimum term to reflect his age at the time of the murder, albeit the judge went beyond the typical starting point of 12 years in light of several aggravating factors.

He was handed a minimum term of 14 years, with 13 years and 35 days to serve.

HHJ Munro stated that a starting point of 25 years was set for Kerr, Hands and Green-Matthews because they were all over 18 at the time of the murder, and because they each "took a knife to the scene, intending to have it with you available to use as a weapon".

She added: "You are all jointly responsible for the use of the knife which Joshua Kerr had, which you were all aware, and which was actually used in the commission of the murder."

Among the aggravating features for Kerr, who administered the fatal stab wound to Daniel's neck, was the intent to kill and the fact he has 19 previous convictions for 32 offences.

A statement written by Kerr, conveying remorse for the killing, was read to the court by his barrister Jennifer Dempster.

In mitigation, HHJ Munro said: "I acknowledge that with guidance, you can make a worthwhile contribution to society."

Hands had 11 previous convictions for 34 offences - which was also considered an aggravating factor - as was his involvement in burning incriminating clothing after the murder.

The driving offences for which he was sentenced were also considered by the judge.

HHJ Munro acknowledged that Hands will find custody "harder" than others because of his intellectual difficulties.

Green-Matthews had two previous convictions for robbery at the time of the murder.

The judge acknowledged that, on the basis of letters provided by his parents, there is "a lot of good to be said about you [Green-Matthews]”.

However, she added: "You knew all too well the danger of carrying a knife and yet you chose to do so."

With respect to the 16-year-old, the biggest aggravating factor was that he brought a weapon to the scene.

Unlike the other three defendants, he had no previous convictions. 

This was taken into account, as was his previous guilty plea to manslaughter and the impact of sustaining a stab injury to the chest during the attack on Daniel.

HHJ Munro said: "I must temper the term to reflect your good character; the fact that you were considerably younger than the other three; the fact that you did not have a knife, and that I accept you did not use your weapon to inflict any injury."