After being stabbed and stomped on dozens of times in a frenzied attack by a gang of teenagers, Declan Cutler was left to bleed to death on a dark Melbourne street.
He was 16 years old when he died, and Declan’s grief-stricken mother sobbed as his family yelled out “monster” and “you b*******” while viewing gruesome footage of his killing in the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
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Declan was not part of any gang, but one of his friends was affiliated with a northern suburbs group, the first day of a judge-alone trial was told.
His friend’s youth gang was feuding with another from the western suburbs.
Declan and his two friends had just left a party in Reservoir in the early hours of March 13, 2022, when a stolen Mazda hatchback pulled up carrying eight members of the rival gang.
Declan Cutler was left to bleed to death on a dark Melbourne street. Credit: 7NEWS
Declan ran but was split up from his friends when the group, carrying four knives, got out of their car and surrounded him on Horton St.
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Unarmed and alone, Declan fell to the ground after being hit.
Within seconds, all eight boys began stabbing, kicking and stomping on him, prosecutor Kristie Churchill told the court.
She said Declan suffered 66 blunt force injuries and 29 stab wounds, including fatal wounds to his chest.
The group got back in the Mazda and fled after the two-minute attack, but they returned briefly, with one of the boys getting out and “gratuitously” kicking Declan as he lay on the ground bleeding, Churchill said.
Neighbours heard that boy yell out “mum’s life, he’s dead” before they left the scene, she said.
Emergency services were called but Declan had so many stab wounds he could not be saved.
Declan’s mother Samantha Cutler was comforted by family members as the court was shown footage of the attack. Credit: AAP
Footage of the ambush, described as “chilling” and “frenzied” by defence barrister Sharon Lacy, was played to the court as members of Declan’s family sat upstairs in the public gallery.
His mother, Samantha Cutler, cried and was comforted by other sobbing female family members, who yelled out at the 14-year-old boy who is now on trial charged with murder.
While he did not stab Declan, the boy kicked and stomped on his foot.
He is accused of being involved in the murder by complicity, as prosecutors allege he agreed to be part of the group onslaught.
The accused boy, who was 13 at the time and the youngest of the group of eight, has pleaded not guilty to murder as he was too young to be held criminally responsible, Lacy argued.
“The defence says (the boy) did not intend to kill, nor did he have the capacity foresee the likelihood of that outcome in the moment,” she said.
Further, she said he did not conspire with the group or enter into an agreement to kill Declan.
Churchill said the boy should be held responsible as she alleged he knew his actions that night were “morally wrong as opposed to being naughty or mischievous”.
The trial before Justice Rita Incerti continues.
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