A top policeman has spoken of his shock at the sentence given to a 16-year-old who knifed and killed a schoolboy in a Shirley park.

Detective Inspector Neil Cochlin who led the investigation into the manslaughter of 17-year-old Gavin Brown, said he could understand the "anger and upset" his family felt at the killer's three year jail sentence.

Adam Eastmond, of Greencourt Avenue, Shirley, was sentenced at the Old Bailey today.

Following sentencing, DI Neil Cochlin said: "The defendant's decision to bring a knife to the park and show it off to the other teenagers has resulted in a death that Gavin Brown's family will never fully recover from and which will blight their lives for ever.

"This crime shows only too clearly the dangers of carrying knives in public and just how much misery is brought upon families and communities."

Gavin, of Westgate Road, South Norwood, died from a stab wound to the neck after an altercation with Eastmond in October 14, 2005.

Eastmond admitted taking a knife to Parkfields recreation ground, claiming he wanted someone to photograph it with a mobile phone and bluetooth' it to him so he could sell it.

The defendant told detectives that while in the park he gave his knife to another youth who then handed it to Gavin.

Gavin, one of the elder members of the group, admonished the defendant for bringing the knife and showing it off in front of younger children.

A struggle followed, during which Eastmond retrieved his knife and Gavin sustained a stab wound to his chest and the left side of his neck.

Eastmond said he put the knife in a bag and fled through the grounds of Bethlem Royal Hospital. The weapon, a 10-inch commando-style knife with a serrated edge, was later recovered during a search of the area. An empty knife sheath was found inside Eastmond's trousers.

Police said they also received a 999 call from a boy claiming he had been attacked with a knife during the incident. They later discovered he was the person responsible for killing 17-year-old Gavin.

Eastmond, who was 15 at the time, was arrested on suspicion of murder on Saturday, October 15, 2005.

He was acquitted of murder last year when a jury failed to reach a verdict but was found guilty of manslaughter on January 22.

A court order preventing him from being named was lifted today.