Teenager who stabbed London cyclist to death handed life sentence

Student Alan Cartwright died shortly after being stabbed while riding his bike in Islington, North London

(Image credit: Met Police)

The London teenager who stabbed and killed a student while stealing his bicycle was handed a life prison sentence on Thursday, after he was found guilty of murder and conspiracy to rob at the Old Bailey.

Joshua Williams, 18, was one of a group who attacked Alan Cartwright as he rode his bike along Caledonian Road, Islington in February this year.

Williams denied that he had murdered the 15-year-old, but was found to have delivered a single stab wound to the chest of Cartwright, who managed to cycle on for a short time before collapsing and subsequently dying from his injuries.

The crime was described as "gratuitous and senseless" and "motivated by acquisitive greed" by Judge Rebecca Poulet, who told Williams he would serve a minimum of 21 years in prison.

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Joshua Williams received a life sentence (Met Police)
(Image credit: Met Police)

Two others, Shaquille Roberts, 18 and an unnamed 16-year-old, have both already pleaded guilty to the bicycle robbery which saw them step out in front of the group of five cyclists and steal two of the bikes, before Williams swung a knife at the chest of Cartwright.

Williams, who had been already been on police bail for possession of a 4in lock knife, though never charged, said he had been at a youth club at the time of the attack, but that explanation was thrown out by jurors.

He had also been identified by a user commenting on the YouTube video of the incident after police posted the CCTV footage online, the court heard.

Judge Poulet said the murder had "rightly horrified and dismayed the public" while Alan Cartwright's mother, Michelle Watson, said the whole family had suffered "heartbreak" over the loss.

Richard Windsor
Richard Windsor

Richard is digital editor of Cycling Weekly. Joining the team in 2013, Richard became editor of the website in 2014 and coordinates site content and strategy, leading the news team in coverage of the world's biggest races and working with the tech editor to deliver comprehensive buying guides, reviews, and the latest product news.


An occasional racer, Richard spends most of his time preparing for long-distance touring rides these days, or getting out to the Surrey Hills on the weekend on his Specialized Tarmac SL7 (with an obligatory pub stop of course).