A musician was today cleared of murdering a student in a horrific late-night knife attack sparked by a ̵6;silly and light-hearted’ comment about his skateboarding skills.
In the latest frightening death from Britain’s knife crime epidemic, Shiloh Pottinger stabbed 19-year-old Luke O’Connor eight times using a 13in ‘Mafia Stiletto’ blade last October.
Pottinger, 20, claimed he had been acting in self-defence, and was today convicted instead of the manslaughter of Mr O’Connor, a second-year business management student at Manchester Metropolitan University.
He was told he faced a ‘long sentence’ behind bars when he’s brought back to court next month.
The son of a rapper and an up-and-coming musician himself, it can now be revealed that one of Pottinger’s tracks has been listened to more than 500,000 times on streaming platform Spotify.
Spotify star Shiloh Pottinger, 19, (pictured) today convicted of the manslaughter of Luke O’Connor, 19
Luke O’Connor, 19, (pictured) was a second-year business management student at Manchester Metropolitan University. He was stabbed eight times using a 13in ‘Mafia Stiletto’ blade last October
Another track features the lyric: ‘Mummy said when I was younger I should never play with knives.’
A row broke out between the pair as Mr O’Connor, from Bedfordshire, walked home from a house party with two friends in the heart of Manchester’s student area.
One of them, Charles Robertson, walked past Pottinger, who was holding a skateboard, and asked him if he could ‘do a kick-flick’, Manchester Crown Court heard.
Mark Ford KC, prosecuting, claimed it was ‘intended as a silly and light-hearted comment’.
But Pottinger, himself a music student who has released tracks under the name OSU, ‘did not take it well’ and reacted in an ‘violent and unpredictable’ manner.
He first attacked Mr O’Connor by hitting him on the head with his skateboard before it flew out of his hand when he tried a second strike.
CCTV footage, played to the jury, showed Pottinger threatening Mr O’Connor with the flick-knife and the pair pushing each other.
There was a scuffle, with Mr O’Connor punching Pottinger and holding on to him, but as he did so he was repeatedly stabbed to the body.
A row broke out between the pair as Mr O’Connor, from Bedfordshire, walked home from a house party with two friends in the heart of Manchester’s student area
As they grappled, Pottinger fell to the ground, dropping the knife as he did so.
But ‘it was too late’, the jury heard, as Mr O’Connor had already sustained fatal injuries.
Distressing footage played in court showed him collapsing on the road covered in blood.
Mr O’Connor was rushed to hospital in cardiac arrest but was pronounced dead at 4.51am.
The jury heard wounds included incisions to his aorta, a kidney had almost been split in two, and one lung had collapsed.
Pottinger fled the scene of the attack and disposed of his skateboard and jacket and washed his clothes in an attempt to avoid detection, the prosecution claimed, but he was arrested two days later.
The bloody knife, which he’d purchased from the internet, was later recovered by police.
After the attack, Pottinger carried out several searches online, including ‘How long do you serve for killing someone?’ and ‘How much time do you get for knife murder?’
But he denied murdering Mr O’Connor and the jury found him not guilty after 13-and-a-half hours of deliberation.
Instead, they found Pottinger, who sobbed in the dock along with members of his family in the public gallery, guilty of manslaughter by a 10-2 majority.
Members of Mr O’Connor’s family watched the verdict on a court videolink, while his mother left without commenting.
Pottinger stabbed 19-year-old Luke eight times using a 13in ‘Mafia Stiletto’ blade last October
The jury heard that Pottinger didn’t have any intention of using the knife and had acted in self-defence.
He said he wanted to show Mr O’Connor and his friend that he had knife as a ‘last scare tactic’ because he feared they would ‘gang up’ on him.
He also claimed the knife was used for applying tape to his skateboard and hadn’t intended to take it out with him that night.
Pottinger’s barrister Siobhan Grey KC claimed that Mr O’Connor, who was 6ft 2in tall, was ‘towering over’ the defendant and was ‘up for a fight’.
But Mr Ford described Pottinger’s story as a ‘pack of lies’ and a ‘desperate attempt’ to ‘escape the consequences of what he did’.
Judge Nicholas Dean KC, told Pottinger he should be ‘under no illusion’ that he had been convicted of ‘a serious offence’.
It was ‘inevitable you will serve a long sentence of detention or imprisonment’, he added.
The judge remanded Pottinger in custody ahead of his sentencing.
Following Mr O’Connor’s death, his family paid tribute to the ‘gentle giant’, saying they had been ‘left with a hole in our hearts that will never be filled’.
According to the Home Office, murders involving a knife or other sharp instrument in England and Wales were at their highest level in 76 years in 2021-22, with 282 deaths.
The Coronation weekend alone saw four teenagers and a man in his late 20s lose their lives in separate knife attacks.