Bardia Shojaeifard: Boy, 15, jailed for murder of Alfie Lewis in knife attack outside school in Leeds

21 June 2024, 10:55 | Updated: 21 June 2024, 14:25

A 15-year-old boy who had a "worrying interest in knives" has been jailed for life - with a minimum of 13 years behind bars - for stabbing another teenager to death on the way home from school.

Bardia Shojaeifard was named for the first time today by a judge shortly before he was sentenced for the murder of Alfie Lewis, also 15.

Alfie was stabbed to death in front of pupils leaving a primary school in the Horsforth area of Leeds last November.

The court heard Shojaeifard - who was 14 at the time of the murder - was an "outwardly normal" boy.

He admitted stabbing Alfie with a 13cm-long knife he had brought from home, but denied murder and claimed he was acting in self-defence when he pulled out the blade.

Shojaeifard was found guilty of murdering Alfie by a Leeds Crown Court jury in April.

Mr Justice Cotter removed reporting restrictions that prevented him from being identified on Friday.

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".

Mr Justice Cotter said the public would be wondering how a young boy "from a loving and supportive family" could commit such an "extraordinary" crime "without forewarning or any warning signs save for some pictures of knives on his phone".

Alfie was stabbed twice - with a chest wound penetrating his heart and causing "catastrophic bleeding", West Yorkshire Police said.

He was pronounced dead in hospital a short time later.

Eyewitnesses had said Shojaeifard had approached Alfie and attacked him without provocation - with the victim trying to back away.

Alfie was heard saying "chill out" and "what are you doing?" as Shojaeifard swung at him with the knife.

The attacker later ran off and left the knife near the scene, and was arrested at his home about an hour later.

Detectives believe Shojaeifard had been carrying the kitchen knife all day, and had intended to seek Alfie at home time.

Leeds Crown Court had heard that there had been two previous incidents involving both boys - including one last July that saw Alfie intervene in a fight Shojaeifard was having with another boy.

A week before the deadly attack - on Halloween - Shojaeifard had walked past Alfie's house with a bag of fireworks, prompting Alfie to say to him: "Give me the bag or something worse than last time is going to happen."

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Following the sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Stacey Atkinson said: "Shojaeifard targeted Alfie in a premeditated and planned attack using murderous violence to end his young life, for which there can be no excuse or justification.

"His actions have robbed Alfie of his future and left his family and friends absolutely devastated. No sentence will ever compensate them for their loss."

Alfie's mother Heather Lane addressed Shojaeifard directly as she read her victim impact statement in court.

"No sentence will ever be enough for what you have done. I will never, ever forgive you," she said.

Ms Lane sobbed as she said: "Alfie was my heart and when he was stabbed in the heart it killed me too."

Alfie's older brother Antony described him as a "loving and caring little mate" who "never deserved what happened to him".

Mr Justice Cotter told Shojaeifard: "He had a long life ahead of him and you took that away.

"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."