Two teenagers found guilty of Ronan Kanda murder in Wolverhampton

After a five-week trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court, a jury took just over two hours to find the pair, now 17, guilty of murder
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On a June evening last year a 16-year-old boy walked the short distance to a friend’s house to buy a PlayStation controller, before making his way back to his Wolverhampton home.

Sadly he was never to arrive. Just yards from the home he shared with his parents and sister, Ronan Kanda was brutally stabbed from behind in a callous and shocking case of mistaken identity.

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Ronan had just finished his GCSEs and was looking forward to the summer holidays before starting sixth form and A-levels the following September. He was bright and popular, and had spent the day with a friend playing snooker. He left home around 8pm to collect the gaming controller and listening to music on his headphones as he walked.

Earlier that day another 16-year-old boy had collected a Ninja sword set and a large machete from a local post-office which he had bought online. He had taken a dislike to one of Ronan’s friends and the two had fought on a previous occasion. Later the same day the 16-year-old conspired with three associates to visit Ronan’s friend as he was owed money, but it was clear from the weapons they carried that their intention was violence.

All four travelled to Lanesfield in a red Corsa driven by 20-year-old Josiah Francis and front-seat passenger 18-year-old Joseph Whittaker. Just before 8.30pm the car entered Mount Road as Ronan was almost home. The 16-year-old and another 16-year-old accomplice got out of the car and chased after Ronan. The first reached him and struck twice. Ronan was taken completely by surprise and was utterly defenceless. He stumbled and called for help before collapsing in the road.

Sadly Ronan’s injuries were too catastrophic to survive and he died at the scene. An investigation was launched which led to four arrests within days.

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Although only one inflicted the blows which killed Ronan, the other 16-year-old was found to have acted in the joint enterprise of Ronan’s murder. And after a five-week trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court, a jury took just over two hours to find the pair, now 17, guilty of murder. They will be sentenced on 13 July. Both Francis and Whittaker were acquitted of all charges.

Ronan KandaRonan Kanda
Ronan Kanda

Family statement

Ronan’s family were left distraught by his death. In a statement read to the court his mother, Pooja said: “On 29 June 2022 my innocent son was murdered. I remember kissing his cheek and saying you look very handsome and waving at him before his father dropped him off to the snooker club – I replay this in my mind every day. That was the last time I saw my son alive.

“With this I have lost a lifetime of dreams, plans, hopes and wishes. Nothing on this earth will satisfy my maternal desire to hold my son in my arms.”

Ronan’s father, Chander, wrote: “Ronan was not only my son – he was my world, my friend and the soul of our family. He was the one that would make us laugh and realise that life is what you make it and enjoy our precious time on earth as a family.”

What has West Midlands Police said about the case?

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Detective Inspector Ade George, from the homicide unit led the investigation. He said: “The pain of losing a child is immeasurable, but to also know that he was not the intended target adds a whole new layer of grief and I cannot begin to imagine the sorrow Ronan’s family feel.

“The defendants on trial are also too young to have thrown their lives away on such reckless actions that led to this tragedy. Their families too will suffer as they face lengthy prison sentences. There are no winners when knives remain on our streets and we will continue to crack down on those who think it’s acceptable to carry them.”

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