Family and friends of teenager Harley Barfield called out their relief and thanked the jury who convicted his 16-year-old killer of murder at Ipswich Crown Court on Friday.

Amid the welcoming of the verdict Harley’s father personally thanked the jury for their decision from the gallery.

The jury had spent nearly five days deliberating after the boy pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denied murder.

Ipswich Star: Harley Barfield died two days after being stabbed in Haverhill in January. Harley Barfield died two days after being stabbed in Haverhill in January. (Image: Charlotte Bond, Newsquest)

Eventually, the judge Mr Justice Thomas Linden told them he would accept a majority verdict of 10 to two.

As the verdict came in the 16-year-old killer was visibly distracted in the dock, hanging his head and fiddling with his fingers.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons because of his age, armed himself with a kitchen knife and lay in wait in Strasbourg Square, Haverhill for Harley, who was going out with his former girlfriend, before confronting him in a ‘jealous rage’ and trying to goad him into a fight and then stabbing him.

Ipswich Star: Floral tributes in the days after Harley was stabbed to death in HaverhillFloral tributes in the days after Harley was stabbed to death in Haverhill (Image: Charlotte Bond, Newsquest)

Stephen Rose KC for the defendant had denied the teenager was lying in wait for Harley and said he was "surprised" to see him that day.

READ MORE: Haverhill teenager knew how long he would get for murder

Mr Rose told the court defendant had autistic spectrum disorder and claimed that this mental condition affected his thinking and behaviour in "a way that ultimately should reduce his level of responsibility" for the killing.

The 16-year-old has been remanded in custody and will be sentenced on December 19. 

READ MORE: Schoolboy witness saw 16-year-old stab friend in Haverhill

Over the course of the month long trial, the jury heard from psychiatrists and witnesses, including Harley's girlfriend who described arriving at the scene to find him lying injured on the ground.

Mr Justice Linden spoke directly to the friends and family in the public gallery and said: “I appreciate the last 11 months or so have been very upsetting for all of you.

"The trial itself will also have been very difficult.

"You have conducted yourselves with great dignity and humanity.“

After the verdict, he turned to the jury and said: “Thank you very much for the service you have given in this case.”

He added: “This was a very sad difficult case in which the stakes were very high it has been a privilege to work with you.“

READ MORE:  Flowers left for Harley Barfield, 16

READ MORE: Harley Barfield's family pay tribute

On November 24, the judge said he would hear evidence of the community impact of the crime.

In a statement following the conviction, Suffolk Police said the murderer began the attack which started as a fistfight “before the defendant pulled out a knife and began stabbing Harley”.

Harley sustained injuries to his head and upper body and defensive wounds to his hand and wrist.

However, the most serious were wounds in his chest and heart. 

Harley was initially taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital for treatment, before being transferred to the Royal Papworth Hospital where he died on 11 January.

A post-mortem examination found the heart wound had been the fatal blow.

The police said that after the attack “the defendant fled the scene taking the knife with him". 

Witnesses quickly identified him, they said, and police arrested him around 45 minutes later and took him to Bury St Edmunds Police Investigation Centre where he was charged with murder.

The police statement said the motive for the attack was the defendant’s obsession with Harley’s girlfriend, who he had dated previously.

At first  “the defendant lied about what had happened” the statement said.

A police spokesman said: “He told officers he had met Harley by chance and that Harley had instigated the fight and had the knife. He claimed he had picked-up the knife after it had been dropped and then used it in self-defence.”

But, the knife was found by a nearby river and analysis showed it was part of a set from the defendant’s home.