Boys guilty of killing 16-year-old in frenzied attack

Melbourne teen Declan Cutler died in the early hours of March 13.

Melbourne teen Declan Cutler died in the early hours of March 13. Photo: Supplied/ABC

A mother has sobbed and a father has hugged a prosecutor outside court after four boys were found guilty of murdering their 16-year-old son in a Melbourne street attack.

Declan Cutler was walking alone down a dark street when he was kicked, stomped on and stabbed by a group of eight boys in March 2022.

He had just left a party in Reservoir in Melbourne’s north and had become separated from his two friends when a stolen Mazda pulled up along side him.

The group of boys hurtled out of the car and pounced on Declan, stabbing and kicking him as he lay on the nature strip.

The group got back in the car after the two-minute frenzied attack and drove off, but they returned briefly to stomp on him again and remove his shoes.

Declan bled to death on the ground after suffering 152 injuries, including 56 stab wounds and 66 blunt force injuries.

Victorian Supreme Court Justice Rita Incerti on Friday found four of the attackers – known under the pseudonyms SA, DM, QDM and SY – guilty of Declan’s murder.

“He was alone and unarmed and utterly defenceless,” Justice Incerti told the court.

“The closed circuit footage has no sound but it screams horror.”

Declan’s mother Samantha Cutler broke into sobs as the verdict was handed down, while the four boys remained emotionless.

His father Bryan Beattie missed the hearing but was told the verdict by the prosecutor outside court and he hugged her.

The teens will be sentenced at a later date.

They had pleaded not guilty to the murder, with three of the four claiming they were not at the scene at all.

The boys went through a judge-alone trial in December, a couple of months after their 13-year-old co-accused was found to be too young to be held criminally responsible.

Three other members of the group were jailed on September 12 for their roles in the killing.

A 16-year-old boy, who was the second youngest, was jailed for up to 15 years after pleading guilty to murder.

Two 18-year-olds were handed youth detention sentences of three-and-a-half and four years.


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