Family of murdered teenagers say they're 'serving life sentence'

‘Our hearts have been shattered’: Family of two teenagers who were stabbed to death by masked gang at Milton Keynes house party tell court they’re ‘serving their own life sentence’

  • Dom Ansah and Ben Gillham-Rice were killed at a birthday party in Milton Keynes
  • Jason Rice, Ben’s father, told the court their families were serving a life sentence
  • Called for five defendants found guilty of murder to be handed high punishment
  • The sentencing hearing for the defendants began today and is ongoing

The families of two teenagers have told a court they are ‘serving their own life sentence’ after the 17-year-olds were stabbed to death by a masked gang. 

Dom Ansah and Ben Gillham-Rice were killed at a house in the Emerson Valley area of Milton Keynes on October 19, 2019.

Jason Rice, Ben’s father, told Luton Crown Court the families of the boys had been served a life sentence, adding ‘when they killed Ben, they killed us’, as he called for a tough punishment.

The sentencing hearing for five defendants began on Tuesday, a month after Charlie Chandler, 23, Clayton Barker, 20, and two 17-year-olds were convicted of murder. 

Jason Rice, Ben’s father, told Luton Crown Court the families of the boys had been served a life sentence, adding ‘when they killed Ben, they killed us’, as he called for a tough punishment. Pictured, Ben with his mother Suzie Gillham

Tracey Ansah, Dom’s mother, said her son was widely loved, with nearly 500 people attending his funeral. Pictured, Dom

Earl Bevans, 23, pleaded guilty to all four charges at the start of the trial. 

Mr Rice told the court his son was ‘infectiously funny’ and caring. He said: ‘As parents we only wanted to protect, love and watch Ben grow, explore and fulfil his dreams and ambitions. All of these have been taken away.’

‘Our hearts have been shattered like a piece of glass into thousands of pieces that will never be put back together,’ he added.

‘We wake up every day praying this is a dream, that our boy will return to us, but the reality is it’s a living nightmare.’

Mr Rice told the court he wanted a life sentence to be imposed on the defendants, adding: ‘We will never see our boy again but the murderers will see their families, their families will see their sons, we would swap that in an instant.

‘When they killed Ben, they killed us. Their actions mean that we are left with our own life sentence.’

Forensic officer outside the scene of the murders in 2019. The sentencing hearing for five defendants began on Tuesday, a month after Charlie Chandler, 23, Clayton Barker, 20, and two 17-year-olds were convicted of murder

Mrs Ansah said her son (pictured) had made mistakes as a teenager but had ‘lived and learned’ from them, and had never carried a knife

Blood was seen smeared on the door of the house where the two teenagers were stabbed 

Tracey Ansah, Dom’s mother, said her son was widely loved, with nearly 500 people attending his funeral.

She said: ‘My heart breaks every day waking up and feeling this gut-wrenching pain of not having my son… every day not hearing him say “I love you mum” because he was never embarrassed to say those words, even in front of his friends.’

‘All our hopes and dreams have gone, he will never be a father, an uncle, he will never pass his driving test, he will never open that barbershop he wanted, he will never get the chance to do anything again,’ she added.


Charlie Chandler (left), 22, and Clayton Barker (right), 20, are among four people who have been convicted of murdering a pair of 17-year-olds in a ‘ferocious’ ambush at a birthday party

Earl Bevans, 23, previously admitted murder

Mrs Ansah said her son had made mistakes as a teenager but had ‘lived and learned’ from them, and had never carried a knife.

She continued: ‘I now ask that you don’t fail us and I ask you to see how much Dom was loved, not just by his family but by many people.

‘We are now a broken family that will never be repaired because the link isn’t there anymore… His life was worth more than any sentence you will be able to give.’

Trial judge Mr Justice Spencer heard mitigation from barristers representing the five defendants on Tuesday afternoon.

Forensic teams were also pictured outside the property in Milton Keynes in October 2019

An artist’s sketch of Chandler appearing at Milton Keynes Magistrates’ Court in October 2019

The court previously heard Ben was stabbed six times in the living room of the property. Dom was ‘hacked’, prosecutor Charlotte Newell QC said, with the teenager receiving 47 injuries before later dying in hospital.

Addressing the aggravating elements of the crimes on Tuesday, Ms Newell told the court the ‘savage’ attacks were orchestrated within a short period and involved the use of at least three deadly weapons.

She added the attack took place in the house of an ‘innocent young girl on her 17th birthday’ before moving into the street, traumatising neighbours who witnessed it.

Bevans, of no fixed address, Chandler and Barker, both of Bletchley, Milton Keynes, and the two unnamed teenagers, will be given their sentences on Wednesday.

The hearing continues. 

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