Wellingborough schoolboy killer fails in court appeal

Shane Woodbine, who was killed by Rory McCartney Walcott in 2005
Shane Woodbine, who was killed by Rory McCartney Walcott in 2005

A man who stabbed a teenager to death when he was himself just 14 has been told by three of the country’s top judges that he must be monitored for the rest of his life.

Rory McCartney Walcott stabbed and fatally wounded Shane Woodbine, 16, following a confrontation in Owen Close, Wellingborough, in July 2005.

It is the first time the Telegraph has been able to name Walcott in public, as reporters were banned from identifying him during his 2007 trial due to his age.

Walcott, now 22, formerly of Queensway, Wellingborough, was handed an indefinite detention for public protection at Northampton Crown Court in March 2007.

Although he has now been freed, the sentence means that he will remain under supervision on licence and subject to prison recall for the rest of his life.

His lawyers went to London’s Criminal Appeal Court on Wednesday last week to challenge that ruling and argue there is evidence to suggest he does not pose such a danger to the public that he needs to be monitored indefinitely. But his appeal was dismissed by the three judges, who said the open-ended sentence was neither wrong nor excessive.

Lord Justice Jackson told the court Walcott argued with Shane Woodbine, of Irthlingborough, on the afternoon of July 16, 2005, before going home, arming himself with a knife and stabbing the 16-year-old in the chest.

Walcott was originally charged with murder, but prosecutors accepted a plea to manslaughter after he was diagnosed as suffering from an ‘abnormality of mind’ - with one psychiatrist concluding he had psychopathic traits.

The court heard that, during his years behind bars, he had been transferred into open conditions and returned to closed conditions twice and had taken a course in music technology.

He was eventually considered for release by the Parole Board, who found his risk had ‘not escalated’ and he was freed in July last year.

His lawyers argued that, instead of the indefinite sentence, he should have been handed an extended term – which would see his strict licence conditions come to an end in 2017.

But, dismissing his appeal, Lord Justice Jackson said there was no evidence in any of the reports prepared for the court to indicate that he would not need to be monitored after that date.

Sitting with Mr Justice Griffith Williams and Judge Brian Barker QC, he added: “Unfortunately, despite having scoured the available material, we cannot see any evidence in the reports furnished to us which supports the conclusion that he will not pose a risk to the public after July 2017.

“We do accept that the appellant was aged only 14 when he committed this horrific killing of a 16-year-old – the judge took that into account when he passed a sentence of detention for public protection.

“There is absolutely nothing in the new material which enables us to say that, in light of recent events, that sentence was either manifestly excessive or wrong in principle.”

Shane Woodbine was a former Wollaston School pupil and had been waiting for his GCSE results when he was murdered.

After his trial, his mother Sharron Devlin revealed he had passed all his exams.

At the time of the killing, the media was prevented from naming Walcott because he was under 18.

But now the order banning the release of his identity has expired so he can be named for the first time.