Two teenagers have been jailed for life after trying to decapitate a factory supervisor as they hacked at him more than 100 times with a samurai sword.

Kiyran Earnshaw, 18, and Luke Gaukroger, 16, admitted murdering Robert Wilson in the "frenzied and senseless attack" in Huddersfield in January this year.

Mr Wilson, 53, had approached Earnshaw and Gaukroger as they loitered outside the Thornton and Ross Pharmaceutical plant.

CCTV footage played in court showed how the teenagers later passed a 20-inch blue samurai sword between them in an attack that lasted around 10 minutes.

Audio recorded from the factory supervisor's phone call to a security firm during the attack captured Gaukroger, who was 15 at the time, shouting "get his head, I want to cut his head, Kia I want to cut his head".


Mr Wilson's pleas to the youths to stop the attack were also captured in the recording that was played at Leeds Crown Court.

Peter Makepeace, QC, prosecuting, said Earnshaw was the first to begin hacking at Mr Wilson after producing the weapon from his tracksuit bottoms.

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Image: Earnshaw and Gaukroger hacked at Mr Wilson with this samurai sword

The prosecutor added that Gaukroger could be heard saying "pass me the shank, pass me the shank".

Mr Makepeace said Earnshaw passed the sword to the younger teenager after delivering multiple blows and kicks to Mr Wilson.

The prosecutor added that the pair paused at one point to catch their breath and to rifle through Mr Wilson's pockets, taking his coat.

Mr Makepeace went on to say that Earnshaw and Gaukroger held the sword together, crouched towards Mr Wilson's body, and seemed to "make a concerted effort to saw the head from the shoulders".

He continued: "Both then jointly stab the upper body using their combined force."

Police who arrived at the scene reported seeing one of the pair "using the sword in sawing motion to the neck area of the deceased as if trying to detach the head from the body".

Mr Makepeace said Earnshaw was Tasered twice before he was arrested and officers used an incapacitant spray on Gaukroger.

Mr Wilson had left the plant to talk to the youths in the car park outside the factory with his colleagues Paul Thewliss and John Badejo.

Robert Wilson was killed outside the factory where he worked in Huddersfield
Image: Robert Wilson was killed outside the factory where he worked in Huddersfield

The prosecutor said Mr Badejo was seriously injured as he tried to help his friend and both he and Mr Thewliss were forced to flee for their lives.

Mr Makepeace said the defendants were seen taking tablets "washed down with vodka and other alcohol" as they hung around Huddersfield with friends before the incident in January.

He said that Earnshaw was slurring his speech after his arrest and was asking why he had been arrested and complaining of police harassment.

He told officers he had taken cocaine and the tranquilliser Xanax.

Tests on drugs Earnshaw had in his possession found they were Flualprazolam – an artificial substance similar to Xanax which produces drowsiness, confusion and disinhibition.

Both defendants admitted murdering Mr Wilson and causing Mr Badejo grievous bodily harm with intent.

Judge Mr Justice Lavender sentenced Earnshaw and Gaukroger to life with minimum terms of 22 years and 16 years, eight months respectively.

Elaine Wilson, the night shift worker's widow, confronted the killers in court and asked: "How on Earth have we come to this and why?"

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