Ian Kirwan trial: Boy, 15, convicted of murdering software engineer outside Asda in Redditch

  • Rosie Dowsing reports as a 15-year-old has been convicted of murdering a software engineer, who was stabbed in the chest in Redditch.

The court heard that Ian Kirwan was knifed in the chest after 'challenging a group of youths for messing about in the toilets' at the store in Jinnah Road on March 8 last year.

The 53-year-old, who was stabbed around 7:20pm, died less than an hour before reaching a hospital.

After a ten-week trial, jurors cleared three other youths – two aged 14 and one aged 16 – of murder and manslaughter but found them guilty of violent disorder.A fifth boy, aged 16, was acquitted of murder, manslaughter and violent disorder, having claimed he was not involved in the fatal confrontation and could not have predicted it.

All five youths, who cannot be named due to their age, pleaded not guilty to murder, manslaughter and violent disorder at a trial hearing in November.

Jurors convicted the boy - then aged 14 - of murder after hearing how Mr Kirwan was knifed in the heart by youths acting as a part of a masked gang which "terrorised" members of the public in the town.

The killer, from Birmingham, travelled by train to the Worcestershire town as part of a group before subjecting Mr Kirwan to a minute-long attack near the entrance of the store.

Mr Kirwan, described as a "loving uncle" to three nephews, worked as an artificial intelligence engineer for Jaguar Land Rover, initially in Coventry before working from home following the Covid-19 pandemic. 

On the evening of March 8 last year, he went to B&Q in Redditch to purchase a replacement light switch, before going into to Asda to buy some wine and snacks.It was whilst using a toilet in the supermarket at around 7:15pm that he first encountered the boys, who had entered the store with their hoods up and faces covered. 

Described as "the warmest, kindest man," Ian Kirwan died after being stabbing outside an Asda in Redditch. Credit: Snapper SK

The trial heard one of them was bragging about urinating on the floor while another banged on Mr Kirwan's cubicle door to get him to hurry up.A few minutes later Mr Kirwan approached the group as they were sat on trollies outside and said words to the effect of: "Which one of you was f***ing around in the toilet?"It was said one of the boys replied: "If you want a problem we'll have a problem." A scuffle then ensued, the court heard. CCTV captured the group of youths confronting Mr Kirwan who made karate-style defensive kicks.

At 7:19pm the 14-year-old delivered the single fatal blow to his chest with the knife. Mr Kirwan retreated inside the supermarket but died less than an hour later before making it to hospital.The youths, one of whom briefly pursued the victim into the store, fled the area towards Redditch railway station. 

The youth who stabbed Mr Kirwan accepted he did so, but argued the legal defence of diminished responsibility due to mental health issues.

Speaking in the trial, Mr Kirwan's wife said: "Ian was my everything, my world."

She said "something wasn't right" after her husband was taking a long time getting "wine and snacks for the evening."

"Before leaving he said bye and told us he loved us and off he went."

Mrs Kirwan recalled to the jury she had called her husband every 15 minutes from around 7:25pm when she knew "something wasn't right" until the police arrived at the couple's house.

The court was told Mr Kirwan was an "unfortunate member of the public in the wrong place at the wrong time".

All those convicted will be sentenced, at the same court, on February 15.