Killer, 18, jailed for fatally stabbing 16-year-old who tried to break up a fight

·4 min read
Rayon Pennycook was stabbed to death in the street as he attempted to break up a fight (SWNS)
Rayon Pennycook was stabbed to death in the street as he attempted to break up a fight (SWNS)

A teenager has been jailed for life for stabbing a 16-year-old to death as he tried to break up a fight.

Rayon Pennycook was killed by 18-year-old Stefan Draca when they both stepped in to separate two girls who were brawling in Corby on 25 May last year.

The schoolboy suffered a single stab wound to the chest and, despite the efforts of medics, was pronounced dead at the scene.

After the attack, Draca fled on foot and changed his clothes at a nearby gym before going home and confessing to his father what he had done.

He denied murder and possession of a bladed article but was found guilty after a trial at Northampton Crown Court and on Friday was jailed for life to serve a minimum of 15 years.

Judge David Herbert told Draca: “You went to Reynolds Road for confrontation and were prepared for violence. You used the knife you took to the scene and stabbed Rayon Pennycook in the chest. This case highlights the dangers caused by young people prepared to carry knives in public."

The court heard the girl Draca came to the scene to defend was involved in a fight in a garden with a girl close to Pennycook, who had been in the house next door.

Stefan Draca was unanimously convicted Draca of Rayon Pennycook's murder, and of the illegal possession of a knife (SWNS)
Stefan Draca was convicted of Rayon Pennycook's murder and of the illegal possession of a knife (SWNS)

Draca's group began exchanging words and as the boys in the group began to retreat, Draca walked towards Pennycook and stabbed him in the shoulder, severing the main vein to his heart.

Pennycook, who was about to start an apprenticeship in construction, died at the scene despite the efforts of his friends, police officers and paramedics to save his life.

The court heard Draca had no criminal convictions before the night of the murder and no history of knife-carrying. 

His former headteacher described him as a "respectable, quiet and polite young man" who had showed no signs of worrying behaviour.

After hearing his son's confession, Draca's father drove his son to Weekley Woods Justice Centre in Kettering where he handed himself in.

Detective Inspector Pete Long, of Northamptonshire Police, said: “From the outset, this case has been one of utter tragedy.

Police forensic officers at the scene of the murder of Rayon Pennycook in May last year (SWNS)
Police forensic officers at the scene of the murder of Rayon Pennycook in May last year (SWNS)

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"A talented, promising and much-loved young man has lost his life, and another now faces a significant jail term and the loss of his future prospects, as well as having to live with what he has done forever.

“While I welcome today’s sentence, nothing can repair the heartbreak suffered by Rayon’s family.

"Throughout our investigation they have shown nothing but dignity and strength, all while deeply mourning him.

“They will carry their loss and pain for the rest of their lives, and I hope Stefan Draca uses his time in prison to reflect, atone and learn to make better choices.

“This case shows just how dangerous it is to carry a knife – all it takes is one injury to end a life and ruin countless others forever.”

Despite the efforts of paramedics Rayon Pennycook was pronounced dead at the scene as result of a single stab wound (SWNS)
Despite the efforts of paramedics Rayon Pennycook was pronounced dead at the scene as result of a single stab wound (SWNS)

Pennycook's family said in a statement: “Losing Rayon has left us devastated and heartbroken.

"He was a son, brother to eight siblings, an uncle, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend and is missed in so many ways by so many people.

“Rayon was jovial, very enthusiastic, kind, loving and very family-oriented. He was a people person. Everyone he came into contact with loved him.

“We miss his presence, his smile, his silly laugh, his big hugs. He was very confident and had a creative mind, an amazing sense of humour and always showed love and kindness to others.

“Since losing Rayon, our lives have been so different to the future we imagined for our family. We feel his loss in so many ways, missing him every day and feeling a pain that time does not lessen.

“We will miss him always and remember him with love forever.”

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