Fiona Scourfield death: Boy killed stepmum with samurai sword

BBC News
Facebook Rueben Brathwaite had returned from school before murdering his stepmother

A 17-year-old boy has been sentenced to a minimum of 15 years in prison after murdering his stepmother with an axe and samurai sword.

Rueben Brathwaite pleaded guilty to murdering Fiona Scourfield, 54, at Broadmoor Farm in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, in March.

Brathwaite was sentenced to life in prison at Swansea Crown Court on Friday by Judge Simon Picken.

The judge said it was a "savage attack against a defenceless woman".

The court heard Brathwaite arrived home from a "normal school day".

About two hours later he lured Ms Scourfield outside of the house and repeatedly struck her over the head with an axe.

He then cut her throat with a samurai sword which he had taken from underneath his father's bed.

Following the attack the court heard the teenager called the police confessing to the murder.

Prosecutor John Hipkin said when officers asked why he had murdered Ms Scourfield, he said he was "fed up of life" and saw killing his stepmother as a "way out".

Brathwaite considered attacking his father but thought he would be "too powerful" and would fight back.

The court heard that after the attack Brathwaite took two photos of the victim's body which he tried to upload to a US-based website, but failed.

In the lead up to the murder, he also took an interest in viewing images of extreme violence and murder online.

Paul Hobson for the defence said his client had "committed a dreadful crime" and that Ms Scourfield's death was "brutal and served no purpose".

Brathwaite also told the court: "I believe without the right level of help I believe I will remain a danger to myself."

Mr Justice Picken told the defendant he would have had to serve a minimum of 25 years if he had been over 18 at the time of the murder.

In a letter to the court, Brathwaite said his stepmother was a "great believer in me" and wanted him to go to university, adding she had "so much love for me".

Ms Scourfield was previously described as "loving and caring" by family and volunteered with the German Shepherd Rescue UK charity.

A victim impact statement read on behalf of Fiona Scourfield's mother, Charlotte Scourfield, said: "Fiona was the apple of my eye. She never said anything bad about anybody, preferring to see the good in everyone.

"Fiona made Rueben warmly welcome and made sure he was properly dressed and equipped for school.

"I believe there was a loving bond between them. My life is destroyed."

After the hearing, Det Supt Gary Phillips from Dyfed-Powys Police said Ms Scourfield "lost her life in a savage and unprovoked attack".

He said the sentence "reflects the brutality of her murder and is a sentence which I hope will help to provide some closure for her family".

"Our thoughts are very much with Fiona's family and friends at what is a very difficult time for them," he added.