Killer who lured best friend to his death is jailed for five years

Killer, 20, who lured his best friend to a secluded spot where he was stabbed 23 times and buried in a makeshift grave is jailed for five years

  • Kieran Williams, 18, was savagely stabbed near the River Wear, in Sunderland 
  • Louis Hackett, 20, was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court for five years

A killer who lured his best friend to a secluded spot where he was stabbed 23 times, before being buried in a makeshift grave has been jailed for five years. 

Louis Hackett, 20, persuaded Kieran Williams to meet him at a disused industrial estate where he was brutally attacked and buried in a grave concealed with sticks, leaves and litter.

The incident occurred at near the Northern Spire bridge in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, last April.

The 18-year-old’s remains were found six weeks later, in June last year. 

Today, Newcastle Crown Court heard how so far those behind Kieran’s murder have ‘got away with it’ as the judge said ‘justice has not been done’.

Kieran Williams (pictured) whose decomposing body was found with multiple stab wounds and buried in a ‘grave; at a disused industrial estate more than six weeks after he went missing, murder jurors have heard

Louis Hackett (pictured), who has been jailed for five years for the manslaughter of Kieran Williams, who was found stabbed and buried in a clandestine grave six weeks after he was reported missing

Pictured police at the scene where Kieran Williams body was found on the banks of the River Wear in Sunderland in April 2022

Hackett, of Fordenbridge Square, Sunderland, was convicted of manslaughter after a jury cleared him of murder.   

Prosecutors say Hackett, who has learning difficulties, facilitated the killing as he ‘pestered’ Kieran to meet him that day, knowing he would come to ‘at least some harm at the hands of others’ when he arrived at the wasteland. 

David Lamb KC told the court: ‘Following the attack, by others, with either one knife or more than one knife, the defendant stood in the grave, next to Kieran’s either dead or dying body, while it was set alight by others and assisted, by his own admission, with the filling of that grave.’

Mr Lamb continued to say that Hackett ‘persistently lied’ in the aftermath of the killing, while Kieran’s family worried as police looked for him.

He added: ‘His lies were instrumental in the police being prevented from discovering the grave for just over six weeks after Kieran was last seen. 

‘He must have known the anguish those close to Kieran would be suffering.’ 

Kieran was found in a 0.75m hole around six weeks after going missing from home on April 18 last year, the day he was killed

Mr Justice Jay told Hackett he was trusted by Kieran, who also had learning difficulties and who he described as his ‘best mate’.

He added: ‘You played a key role in escorting him to the scene of the murder. 

‘You had to persuade him to go out that evening, he was at his mother’s home. 

‘You knew something untoward was to happen to him, that much is clear from the jury’s verdict. 

READ MORE: Missing teenager, 18, was ‘stabbed to death by his friends, buried in a makeshift grave near a disused industrial estate and set alight’, murder trial hears 

‘However, equally consistent with the verdict, you did not know he would suffer really serious harm, still less that he would be stabbed 23 times in a brutal attack.’

The judge said the jury’s verdict also showed that Ben Cook, 19, of Fordfield Road, Sunderland, who was cleared of Kieran’s murder and manslaughter, was not the attacker.

He added that the culprit ‘has still not been apprehended’.

Justice Jay added told Hackett his sentence ‘cannot do justice to Kieran Williams or his family’, adding: ‘He was brutally murdered. 

‘So far, the real perpetrator or perpetrators have got away with it, justice has not been done, it won’t be done by sentencing you for more than what you have done.’

In defending, Toby Hedworth KC said that Hackett did not know Kieran was going to be seriously harmed or killed that night, adding: ‘He is genuinely sorry for what happened to Kieran. 

‘He spends most of his waking time thinking about what had happened and believes that this is going to live with him for the rest of his life. 

‘To say he regrets his actions is an understatement. While he knows it will not bring any comfort, nor could it ever make up for what has happened, he wants to say to Kieran’s mother how sorry he is for her loss and how he knows any words from him could never be enough but he feels, very keenly, what she must be feeling.’ 

However, Mr Hedworth said some questions around what happened to Kieran are ‘never going to be answered’. 

Kieran’s mum, Tracey Williams, told police that her son lived elsewhere in the city but would visit her daily, for a bath and some food. 

Ms Williams said on April 18 Kieran had visited her as normal and he was still at the house when she left to go to a restaurant. 

She said after she left the house, she had to briefly returned inside the home as she had forgot her purse. 

In a statement that was read out during the trial, Ms Williams said: ‘As I left the house Kieran was lying on the sofa in the living room, watching music videos on TV. 

‘Kieran didn’t tell me what his plans were for the rest of the night but we did have conversation about me bringing some food home for him from the restaurant. 

‘That’s the last time I ever saw or heard from Kieran.’ 

Ms Williams said when she got back from the restaurant Kieran had left the house, adding: ‘Over the next few days I sent Facebook messenger messages to Kieran’s phone, asking him to get in contact and telling him I was worried about him. 

‘They remained unread and I received no messages from him.’

Kieran was found in a 0.75m hole around six weeks after going missing from home on April 18 last year, the day he was killed. 

On May 31 last year the police discovered a grave that had been dug in a wooded area near a disused industrial estate by the Northern Spire bridge.

His body was examined by a pathologist and he found he had suffered at least 20 stab wounds, including three to the front of his chest, two to his right torso, seven to his neck and a number of other wounds to his limbs. 

One of the stab wounds had penetrated a membrane surrounding his heart, another penetrated his aorta and two entered his liver.

The court heard an attempt had been made to set Kieran on fire in the grave but the fire damage was limited to his clothes not his body. 

Detective Chief Inspector Matt Steel, of Northumbria Police, said: ‘Our thoughts continue to be with Kieran’s family and loved ones following their loss. 

‘This is a truly tragic case in which a family have been left completely devastated and we will continue to support them wherever we can. 

‘We want to make it clear that violence of any kind is completely unacceptable – and is never the answer. 

‘When incidents do occur we are committed to doing all we can to bring those responsible to justice by putting them before the court. 

‘We can confirm this remains an open investigation and we are actively pursuing a number of lines of enquiry, and we will also continue to act on any new information which comes forward.’

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