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Philip English

Philip English, then aged 15, was convicted in 1994 of the murder of a police officer Sergeant Bill Forth in Gateshead, although at the time when Sgt Forth was killed by a single stab wound inflicted by Paul Weddle, 24, he was out of sight of Forth and Weddle and was being restrained by another police officer.

Weddle and English attacked the sergeant with pieces of fencing. After English ran off and was caught around the corner, Weddle produced a small knife and stabbed Sgt Forth to death.

English said at his trial in 1994 that he did not know Weddle had a knife and had never intended that Sgt Forth should suffer serious harm. He was convicted of murder on a 10-2 majority. The prosecution argued that even if he did run off, English remained a party to the agreement to the attack and was liable for what Weddle did.

This a significant case in which the law on "joint enterprise" or "common purpose" was defined, when the House of Lords overturned English's conviction.

Teenager's murder appeal to Lords echoes Bentley case, by Bob Woffinden, Independent 29 October 1995

House of Lords judgment 30 October 1997

Key words

"joint enterprise"
"common purpose"
"House of Lords"

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