Court allows media to name Harrogate boy murderer
Last updated Aug 25, 2023
Dylan Cranfield was 16 when he murdered Seb Mitchell

A judge lifted reporting restrictions today to allow the media to name a Harrogate boy murderer in the hope it will serve as a warning to other young people about the dangers of knives.

Dylan Cranfield, 17, was found guilty of murdering Seb Mitchell, 17, at Leeds Crown Court by a verdict of 10 to 2 after the jury deliberated for almost 15 hours.

There were gasps in the public gallery when the verdict was announced.

Afterwards, Judge Guy Kearl, the Recorder of Leeds, allowed Cranfield to be named.

He said:

“It’s important getting young people to understand that knives kill. Not just knives that are carried around with them for so-called protection.

“Young people must know that all knives are lethal weapons and can in dreadful circumstances lead to death.”

Cranfield, who was 16 at the time of the incident in February, was not named in reports from the trial until today.

He is due to be sentenced on October 4.

Seb Mitchell. Picture: Sam Mitchell.

Seb Mitchell. Picture: Sam Mitchell.

Courts have discretionary powers to prevent the media from naming children to protect their welfare. Such orders remain in place until the child reaches 18.

Judge Kearl said the welfare of children had to be balanced against the open justice principle that says the media should be able to report cases “fully and contemporaneously”.

He said the public interest of highlighting the dangers of knife crime meant it was therefore “in the interests of justice to lift reporting restrictions”.

Harrogate Grammar School pupil Seb was stabbed to death with a kitchen knife after a row over a broken mirror at a property on Claro Road in Harrogate.

Claro Road murder scene

A police officer outside the home on Claro Road after the incident.

Cranfield pleaded not guilty – he accepted he stabbed Seb, but said he did not intend to kill him.

A teenage girl who witnessed the incident told police Cranfield pointed the knife at Seb and said “I’m going to wet you up”, which the court heard was “London slang” for a stabbing.

Judge Kearl told the court:

“This is not a case in which he took the knife to the scene, but nevertheless a case in which it was picked up and then used, not with a great deal of force.

“But as we know in these courts, you don’t have to use a great deal of force in order to inflict a great deal of injury.”

Seb was taken to Harrogate District Hospital by ambulance, but his condition was so critical he was transferred to Leeds General Infirmary where he underwent emergency surgery and was placed in a medically induced coma.

He died two days after the incident.

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