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Teen became the first person in UK history to be charged with inciting their own murder

Teen became the first person in UK history to be charged with inciting their own murder

'John' spun a complex web of lies online to convince his friend 'Mark' to try and kill him

In June 2003, a 14-year-old boy was stabbed in Manchester in what appeared to be a brutal attack. The teenager suffered horrific injuries, which kept him in intensive care for a week and resulted in him almost dying on the operating table. 

The boy's friend, a slightly older teenager who lived just four miles away from him, had been the one to call an ambulance after the attack. The friend described in detail to police how the boy had been dragged into an alleyway in a failed mugging attempt and then stabbed. 

After the attack, Manchester police were about to launch a manhunt for the alleged assailant. However, the search was stopped when they reviewed CCTV footage from the alleyway and saw that it was, in fact, the older teen who had committed the stabbing.

In a case that is ultimately as bizarre as it is disturbing, the 'victim' of the attack, who was referred to in reports as 'John' (not his real name), would end up being the first person in the UK to be charged with inciting his own murder. 

The remarkable story begins in an online chatroom in the early noughties, a place where you could essentially be anyone you wanted to be once you had an email address.

John created a web of lies online which ensnared Mark.
Westend61 GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

This is where John would meet the older teen 'Mark', with whom he would quickly become obsessed - and soon paranoid Mark would soon lose interest in the real him.

Over the course of a few months, John had built online relationships with Mark through multiple fictitious characters, including a British Secret Service Agent named Janet, a woman in her 40s.

Janet told Mark that John was terminally ill and he would have to kill him. In return, Mark would receive half a million pounds and a meeting with then Prime Minister Tony Blair as a thank you. 

Janet knew of John's illness because she had access to his emails. This was seemingly confirmed by John, who messaged Mark one day telling him of a letter from his doctor bearing the news.

Janet regularly underlined the importance of the work she was doing; telling Mark that he could become a member of the British Secret Service once he had killed John. 

Of the six characters John created to chat with Mark in the MSN chatroom, two were teenage girls. One of these girls asked Mark to look after her younger step brother, John, which is how John brought a version of himself into the wild narrative he had constructed. Their cams, naturally, were not turned on.

John became the first person to be convicted of inciting his own murder.
Arthit Buarapa / Alamy Stock Photo

In another disturbing twist in the story, the teen girl characters, and that of the British spy Janet, would encourage Mark to engage in sexual activity with his webcam turned on - which he would comply with, terrified of the repercussions if he didn't.

As part of the case, criminal investigative analyst Sally Hogg would examine 58,000 lines of text and 133 gigabytes of data from both boys' computers of their communications. She told Vanity Fair that the data would stretch to 'about 46,000 feet high' if it was printed onto pages.

The complex John, a withdrawn boy who would disappear to his room often for days on end, was charged with inciting his own murder in 2004, just under a year after the attack. John continued to deny his involvement until an in-depth examination of the exchanged messages between the boys revealed a spelling pattern to Hogg, which she recognised as John. 

Mark would receive a two-year supervision order for attempted murder, while John was banned from using the internet without strict parental supervision and given a three-year supervision order. The judge said neither boy would benefit from time in prison. 

In 2013, the film Uwantme2killhim? was made loosely based on the case. 

Both John and Mark, now in their mid-30s, are believed to have never had contact again after their court date. Their real names were never allowed to be released because of their ages at the time of the assault. 

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Featured Image Credit: pawita warasiri / Alamy Stock Photo/VStock / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Crime, True crime, UK News, Technology

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