A child will spend up to 15 years behind bars for plunging a knife into a 16-year-old’s skin during a mob attack, then returning to stomp on the dying boy.
The killer was aged 14 when he and a gang of eight teenagers pounced on Declan Cutler as he left a birthday party in Melbourne’s north in March 2022.
The group had met earlier at a house in Tarneit before driving a stolen Mazda to the Reservoir party after seeing a series of antagonistic videos posted online by a rival gang.
In the early hours of March 13, Declan became separated from his friends as they left the party.
He was walking down the dark street, alone and helpless, when the Mazda stopped.
A 16-year-old boy was sentenced to 15 years behind bars after pleading guilty to the stabbing death of Declan Cutler in March 2022 (pictured)
Eight teenagers carrying four knives got out of the car and began chasing Declan, who was not affiliated with either gang.
He tried to run, but the group dragged his sweater to the ground and two began stabbing him.
Others joined in the two-minute attack, repeatedly kicking, stomping and stabbing Declan as he lay on the nature strip.
The teens left in the car, but then returned briefly to trample Declan again and take his shoes.
Local residents were awakened by screams and screams outside their homes and called triple zero.
Declan bled to death on the ground after suffering 152 injuries, including 56 stab wounds and 66 blunt force injuries.
After running away, one of the eight teenagers searched social media for photos of Declan, then searched the internet for the question: “Is hell guaranteed for Muslims who commit murder?
The teenager was one of eight people involved in the attack on Declan (pictured) and one of three people to plead guilty in the Supreme Court of Victoria via video link to Tuesday’s attack.
Three members of the group appeared in the Victorian Supreme Court via video link on Tuesday, where they were jailed for the attack.
“The attack was frenzied, savage and completely unprovoked,” Judge Elizabeth Hollingworth said.
“This was brutal and unprovoked violence against an unarmed teenager, who was trying to escape at the time.”
She described the CCTV footage of the murder as “absolutely shocking in its brutality”.
The second youngest in the group was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to murder.
He admitted stabbing, kicking and stomping on Declan and removing one of his shoes.
The boy, now 16, began carrying a knife in public in 2020 to “protect himself” after a friend died in a knife attack.
The judge recommended that the Adult Parole Board continue to hold the boy in the juvenile justice system until he turns 21.
Declan’s friends and family sat patiently in court during the sentencing, wearing T-shirts reading: “In memory of the D-Jays, forever in our hearts” (file photo)
He has already served a year and four months of his sentence and must serve at least 10 before he can apply for parole.
An 18-year-old, who was 16 at the time and who pleaded guilty to manslaughter for being armed with a knife and stomping on Declan, was sentenced to four years in juvenile detention.
A third teenager, the same age, admitted kicking Declan after pleading guilty to intentionally causing serious injury.
He was sentenced to three and a half years in juvenile detention.
Judge Hollingworth denounced knife crime, saying the community as a whole needed “to be protected and to feel safe”.
“Sadly, violent knife crime committed by young offenders has become far too common,” she said.
Declan’s supporters sat in court for the sentencings, wearing T-shirts reading: “In memory of the D-Jays, forever in our hearts.”