Obsessed by extreme violence, teenager told police he wanted to ‘shock people, to change my life’
RUEBEN Brathwaite was 12 years old when he went to live with his dad and stepmum Fiona Scourfield at Broadmoor Farm near Laugharne in 2013.
Five years later, he would return home from school, lure kindhearted animallover Ms Scourfield out of the farmhouse and cold-heartedly murder her with an axe and a samurai sword.
After the killing, friends would describe the 54-year-old victim as a “quiet girl, unassuming and lovely” who “worked tirelessly to make the world a better place for animals” through her work with UK German Shepherd Rescue.
Desensitised through his apparent fascination with gore-filled images online, the teenager had watched her blood drain out of her before calling police.
He would later tell officers he was “convinced he had to do it” and that his “motivation was to shock people, to change my life”.
The full details of his monstrous crime can be reported for the first time after Brathwaite was jailed for life with a minimum of 15 years and the reporting restrictions which prevented news organisations from publishing his name, as he is only 17 years old, were lifted.
At Swansea Crown Court on Friday, sentencing judge Mr Justice Picken was told that in the 12 months before the murder Brathwaite had become fascinated by online material about mass killings, suicides and beheadings, and spent a lot of time viewing such material.
In his sentencing remarks Mr Justice Picken said it was important the public were aware of this, so there could be an “informed debate” about such material.
During earlier hearings, judges and magistrates in Swansea and Llanelli had been told how he had spent hours on US website 4chan, which specialises in extreme and graphic content.
After the killing, he would try to upload images of his dying stepmum on to the site but the uploads failed as he was already banned.
Police recovered more graphic videos from his phone depicting road traffic accidents and mutilated bodies.
“The boy said he had become desensitised to gore and was used to seeing blood,” prosecutor Ellie Morgan had told Llanelli Magistrates’ Court at an early hearing.
The day when Brathwaite turned his internet fascination with blood and gore into murder was in spring this year, on Tuesday, March 6. He lived at the farm between St Clears and Laugharne in a log cabin with his father and stepmother.
On the day of the killing, he caught the school bus home to the farm and had a cup of tea with his stepmum and her mother. He would later describe it as a “normal school day”.
After finishing their family tea, Ms Scourfield’s mum left the log cabin and Brathwaite went to tend the chickens and other animals. At one of his first hearings in magistrates’ court, prosecutor Ms Morgan outlined the sequence of events to the bench.
She told them: “Police received a call at 5.47pm from [Brathwaite] who said, ‘I’ve just killed someone at home’.”
When police attended wearing body cameras, the footage showed a boy meeting them on the farm track with his hands in the air.
“He said he had killed his father’s partner,” Ms Morgan told the court. “The boy was calm and coherent when the officer asked him what happened. He said he had killed her with an axe and samurai sword.”
The officer found Ms Scourfield slumped against her front door with her throat slit and covered in blood. A shorthandled axe was inside the door of an outbuilding. The court heard Ms Scourfield had been struck to the head and neck and had suffered injuries caused by a sword and an axe.
In interviews with officers, Brathwaite told police how he had “grabbed the axe from the workshop and samurai sword from under his father’s bed.”
Appealing to his stepmum’s kindly nature, he tapped on the living room window and called her outside, telling her that “there was an injured cat outside”.
She went out and he “struck her with the blunt end of the axe” rendering her unconscious. He then hit her another six or seven times to the head as she lay defenceless on the floor.
Brathwaite then used “the sword to slice her neck”. He then waited for blood to stop flowing before calling police.
Magistrates heard that he told police he was “convinced he had to do it” so “people would know what he had done”.
Ms Morgan said Brathwaite told police his “motivation was to shock people, to change my life”.
> Rueben Brathwaite developed an interest in ‘murder, death and mutilation’ while looking at American website 4chan