A man has been found guilty of manslaughter following the fatal stabbing of 18-year-old Cameron Hamilton in Bournemouth town centre.

Thomas Betteridge, aged 18 and of Southsea in Portsmouth, was found guilty of manslaughter and possessing a bladed article on Friday 1 March 2024 following a 21-day trial at Bournemouth Crown Court. He was found not guilty of a charge of murder.

He will return to court to be sentenced on Friday 5 April 2024.

At around 1.25am on Saturday 5 August 2023 officers in the town were made aware of an altercation taking place in the area of The Square. It was subsequently reported that a man had sustained a suspected stab wound.

Despite the efforts of officers – who were on the scene within seconds of the fatal stabbing – and paramedics who subsequently attended, Cameron was very sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

Following a detailed investigation by detectives from Dorset Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team (MCIT), Betteridge was charged and another 18-year-old man, Lennie Hansen of Waterlooville, was also charged with assisting an offender and possessing a bladed article.

Hansen was found not guilty of assisting an offender but had previously admitted a charge of possessing a bladed article, which related to him bringing the knife that Betteridge used to Bournemouth on the day of the fatal stabbing. He will be sentenced alongside Betteridge on Friday 5 April 2024.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Third, of MCIT, said: “Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Cameron Hamilton and nothing will ever make up for the devastating loss they have endured as a result of what took place in the early hours of Saturday 5 August 2023. I want to thank them sincerely for the dignified way they have conducted themselves throughout the investigation and court process.

“We have worked tirelessly to do all we can to secure justice for Cameron’s loved ones and I want to thank all those involved, from the officers who responded immediately on the night to the investigation team and everyone else across the Force who provided support and helped secure evidence. I also want to thank the Crown Prosecution Service for their assistance in bringing this case to court.

“Cameron’s tragic death at the hands of Thomas Betteridge is the starkest of reminders of the horrific consequences that can result from taking a knife out onto the streets and we will continue to work with our partners and communities to raise awareness and take action on knife crime.”

Andrew Gubbels, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS Wessex, said: “This case truly shocked Bournemouth and its surrounding communities to the core.

“The CPS worked closely with Dorset Police to ensure those responsible for these heinous offences were prosecuted.

“Our thoughts remain firmly with Cameron’s family and we hope these convictions send the clear message that violence involving knives has truly devastating consequences.”

Family statement

We as a family still remain and always will be, truly devastated by the loss of our beautiful Cam, we will never get over his life being so horribly taken from him. Our lives are changed forever.

Cam was loved by all that had the pleasure of knowing him. He was a loving and caring, intelligent, polite young man with his whole life ahead of him. He is missed so much by us ALL.

We thank all the people that have been there for us, helped and supported us through the most horrific time of our lives, we will never forget.

We would like to publicly thank the following:

The police officers first on the scene who tried to save Cam’s life and the ambulance crew who took over, we thank you so much for being with him.

The investigation team and Crown Prosecution Service for their hard work from start to finish and throughout the trial. Thank you for the respect, professionalism and empathy you have all shown to Cam and our family.

The family liaison officers who have been with us from day one, you have been amazing.

And finally, thank you to our barrister John Price KC, we could not have asked for anyone better to represent Cam in court.

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