Unsolved Murders

Carl Kennedy

Age: 3

Sex: male

Date: 25 May 1992

Place: Willenhall, Coventry

Carl Kennedy was strangled with his football shirt and beaten to death with a golf club or an axe.

A 17 year old youth was convicted of his manslaughter in May 1993 but his conviction was later overturned on 4 July 1997. He was freed by the court of appeal after they declared that his conviction was unsafe. He had been sentenced to eight years' detention.

The body of Carl Kennedy was found about 300 yards away from his home in Willenhall in some thick brambles near some open parkland. The youth was said to have admitted strangling Carl Kennedy with Carl Kennedy's Aston Villa shirt and to have then hit him 15 times in the face with a weapon, leaving him unrecognisable.

His mother said that Carl Kennedy's last words to her before he went out to play were, 'Bye mum, I will see you in a minute'. He had been going off to a playground near their flat.

His body was found about seven hours later.

During their initial investigation, the police said at they were trying to identify a man that had been seen in the playground who was described as being in his 40s, wearing a white t-shirt and grey trousers and drinking from a can of beer.

The police also arrested a middle-aged man during their investigation and released the descriptions of three other men that they were interested in identifying.

At his trial in 1993, it was heard that the youth had pretended to help the police look for Carl Kennedy after his mother first reported him missing. The youth had lived on the same council estate as Carl Kennedy.

It was also heard at his trial that after allegedly killing Carl Kennedy that the youth had walked in 'an astonishingly normal manner' back to his home on the estate. The judge then stated that what he was said to have done to Carl Kennedy was totally abnormal.

The prosecution said the youth had lured Carl Kennedy into the bushes and had then tried to strangle him with his own t-shirt and had then proceeded to smash his face in, blow after blow after blow.

The court heard that the motive might have been because Carl Kennedy had earlier stabbed the youths 4-year-old sister in the knee with a pair of scissors.

When the judge summed up he said that it was clear that the youth had not intended to kill Carl Kennedy or cause serious harm to him, and noted that the pathologists report stated that it would only have taken a few seconds for Carl Kennedy to lapse into unconsciousness when he had twisted the t-shirt round his neck, and that after that, the youth had panicked and had rained blows down on his face in a bid to disguise his identity.

The judge noted that the youth was only 16-years-old and commented that he had behaved in an 'unbelievably foolish' way.

It was noted that at the first trial the judge had to abandon proceedings after a juror fell asleep. The trial was stopped after the juror was heard snoring. A new jury was sworn in the following day and the trial recommenced. When the judge addressed the new jury he said, 'There is no mystery. We had an embarrassing situation when one of the jurors fell asleep. It was quite remarkable but there it is. I tell you this for two reasons, I don't want you speculating that something strange happened and because it is vitally important that you feel able to concentrate. If anybody starts to feel sleepy, we will have a 10-minute break, and that is much better than the terrible situation we had'.

*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.

see www.thefreelibrary.com

see Independent

see Independent

see Evening Herald (Dublin) - Monday 08 June 1992

see Evening Herald (Dublin) - Monday 25 May 1992

see Newcastle Journal - Wednesday 27 May 1992

see Liverpool Echo - Wednesday 27 May 1992