Mur­dered in a ‘mind­less’ row over miss­ing pasta

Woman who stabbed 18-year-old to death jailed for 23 years

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Robert Cum­ber robert.cum­ber@trin­i­tymir­

A mum-of-two who stabbed a teenager to death in Ick­en­ham in a row over a por­tion of stolen pasta shells said “I de­serve to be dead” as she was jailed for 23 and a half years on Wed­nes­day April 27.

Max­ine Ben­son knifed 18-year-old Al­fie Stone to death af­ter he and his brother Jake were ac­cused of pinch­ing food from the kitchen at a block of bed­sits.

The 32-year-old, of no fixed abode, de­nied mur­der but she was found guilty by a jury at the Old Bailey on April 26.

Al­fie des­per­ately tried to use a chip shop ad­ver­tis­ing board as a shield, but died hours af­ter the attack in Ick­en­ham High Street, near West Ruislip sta­tion, on Novem­ber 9 last year.

Judge Richard Marks QC de­scribed his death as a “sense­less, mind­less killing”.

Ben­son said she “for­got” the knife was in her hand but she was con­victed of mur­der by an Old Bailey jury.

In a let­ter to the judge, Ben­son wrote: “I want to say how dev­as­tated I am for the Stone fam­ily, I don’t want you to have mercy on me. I feel I de­serve to be dead.

“I see Al­fie’s mum every day in court, I see the heart­break in her eyes and know what it’s like to lose a child.”

The pros­e­cu­tion claim Ben­son’s friends Steven Haw­good, 28, and 29-year-old Corine Cripps egged her on by shout­ing “stab ’im, stab ’im”.

Al­fie and Jake knew the area well be­cause their sis­ter Shan­non was a tenant in one of the bed­sits, al­though she had moved out a few weeks be­fore the attack.

Two days be­fore the mur­der, Jake had stayed at the ad­dress fol­low­ing a fight with his mother, and al­legedly took the food from the com­mu­nal kitchen.

The fight broke out when the boys came to try and col­lect some of their sis­ter’s pos­ses­sions and Ms Cripps – known as Coral – tried to throw them out, telling them: “this isn’t a doss house”.

Giv­ing ev­i­dence, Ben­son said she had picked up a knife to scare the boys af­ter the row broke out. But in­stead of us­ing it to threaten them, she had hid­den it up her sleeve and only pulled it out at the last mo­ment.

Al­fie suf­fered four knife wounds to the chest – with the fi­nal blow sink­ing 10cm into his chest cav­ity to his heart.

Ben­son said: “I’m sorry he’s dead. I didn’t mean to do it. It was an ac­ci­dent.”

In a state­ment read out dur­ing the sen­tenc­ing, Al­fie’s mum Diane Stone said her “world ended” with his mur­der.

Prior to the attack she had taken her two chil­dren – who both live with her mother in Padding­ton – to school. She had spent the rest of the day drink­ing and smok­ing with friends in her bed­sit be­fore argument broke out.

Jail­ing Ben­son for 23-and-a-half years, Judge Marks said: “In your case, the red mist had well and truly de­scended so far as you were con­cerned.

“You passed into the al­ley­way and then into the street. Al­fie can be seen on CCTV footage back­ing away from you in an at­tempt to re­pel an act by you.

“He picked up the wooden board out­side the fish and chip shop and threw it at you.

“In my judge­ment, given you’re much lit­tler than him, this only could have oc­curred be­cause you were in pos­ses­sion of that knife.

“This was in any view a sense­less, mind­less killing of a boy who was only 18 years of age who had the rest of his life ahead of him.”

Ben­son wrote in her let­ter to the judge: “I wish I could re­place Al­fie’s life with mine, I love my daugh­ter with all my heart and when my daugh­ter cries and says she misses me I know what I have done to Al­fie’s fam­ily.

“My cousin was stabbed to death two days af­ter Al­fie died and his the killers still haven’t been caught.

“I feel God has taken a life from me be­cause of the life I took – not a day goes by when I don’t truly re­gret what I’ve done.”

Ben­son has 17 con­vic­tions for 33 pre­vi­ous of­fences, in­clud­ing rob­bery, pos­ses­sion of an of­fen­sive weapon and as­sault oc­ca­sion­ing ac­tual bod­ily harm.

Ben­son; Haw­good, Steven of Kingston Av­enue, West Dray­ton; and Ms Cripps, of High Road, Ick­en­ham, all de­nied mur­der but Ben­son pleaded guilty to man­slaugh­ter.

Ms Cripps and Mr Haw­good were both cleared of mur­der and the jury were un­able to agree on a charge of man­slaugh­ter.

They were wait­ing to learn if they will face a re­trial as the Gazette went to press.

n VIC­TIM: Al­fie Stone, 18, died from his stab wounds

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