Teenage killers of ‘vulnerable’ Christchurch musician condemned as ‘pure evil’

Edward Reeve was described by his family as a 'lovely man and a talented musician.' Credit: Dorset Police

The family of a “vulnerable” musician who was stabbed to death by two 16-year-old boys has described his killers as “pure evil”.

A sentencing hearing is being held at Winchester Crown Court for the two defendants who were found guilty of the murder of Edward Reeve at his home in Christchurch, Dorset, on New Year’s Eve in 2021.

The judge, Mr Justice Sweeney, said he will hand down his sentence to the two teenagers on Wednesday at 2pm.

The defendants, one from Christchurch and the other from Bournemouth, were 16 at the time of the attack and are now both 17.

The court heard that Mr Reeve, 35, was probably chased by his attackers before being left to bleed to death. The victim, who had a history of psychiatric illness, had met the two defendants outside a local shop a few days earlier and had sought to buy drugs from them to self-medicate for his mental well-being, the court was told.

Riel Karmy-Jones KC, prosecuting, said: “The victim was particularly vulnerable because of his disability.”

Mr Reeve invited them back to his home but the fatal attack happened when they visited again on December 31 2021. The defendants claimed during the trial that they had acted in self-defence after Mr Reeve, who played keyboards, accused them of stealing his computer but the pair were convicted unanimously by the jury of his murder.

They were also convicted of possessing two knives which the prosecution say were brought to the scene of the killing. The defendant from Bournemouth has previous convictions for possessing a knife and burglary.

Police at the scene at Heath Road, Christchurch in January 2021.

The court heard that the defendants bragged afterwards about the killing to friends and even attended a party with blood still on their clothes.

In a statement read to court, the victim’s father, John Reeve, said: “I devoted my whole life to him and his happiness and his well-being.He was known far and wide for his music which was played on BBC radio.

“He was a lovely man and a talented musician.”

“They stole Edward’s life in a wicked, violent and despicable manner.”

The victim’s mother, Jayne Newey, added: “He was a beautiful boy and grew up to be such a kind and gentle man.”

The statement of a 15-year-old girl who found Mr Reeve’s body was also read to the court.She said: “I have sleep paralysis, I would see him at the end of my bed just standing there and I saw him just lying there.

“I couldn’t focus at school as I was just seeing him behind me in window reflections.

“I feel anxious and very low, I do not go out much.”