The heartbroken parents of Olly Stephens have revealed how their son “loved watching other people get happy” and how their emotions are still “too raw” eight months on from his death.

Speaking ahead of the sentencing of the three teenagers who were responsible for 13-year-old Olly’s death on January 3, Stuart and Amanda Stephens spoke to the Chronicle about the joy their son brought them, as well his autism, and the unique delights and challenges that came with it.

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A boy who put “100 per cent” into everything he did, Olly loved trying new things and went through phases of enthusiastically trying new sports and hobbies, from basketball and rugby to cooking, baking and even making cocktails for his parents.

Stuart said: “Whatever he was going to do he was going to do it well. I would say to him it doesn’t matter what you do, just do it 100 per cent.

“The best one was the summer he got into cocktail shaking, we had some very merry evenings – but he was really good at it.

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“He loved watching other people get happy, and that was one of the things about it. He knew that if he made a few cocktails, everyone would have a little drink and be happy and have a good time.”

Always making grand plans, Amanda revealed how Olly was always coming up with new ideas for what he would do in the future.

“He was always a planner,” she said. “At one point he said he was going to move to Japan and I looked really crestfallen and he said don’t worry you can come and visit, but you’ll have to pay your own fare.

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“His brain was older than his physical body,” added Stuart. “He was way ahead of the game for his age.

“I was already thinking about what we could do for him work-wise because he loved school but he struggled with education, it didn’t suit him.”

Despite their happy memories of Olly, his parents have not been able to do anything to celebrate Olly’s life since his funeral, with their emotions still “too raw.”

Stuart said: “It’s hard walking past his bedroom.

“I still expect him to knock on the door, I still see him out of the corner of my eye, walking around the kitchen emptying the cupboards.”

Not long before he died, Olly was diagnosed with autism, and his unique personality made him both a joy and an enigma for his parents.

Amanda said: “He would always get the most out of what he was doing, enjoy it and then think what’s next.

“When he was younger and if he had a birthday party or something he would meticulously plan.

“We also think he had PDA (pathological demand avoidance) because he had to control things. He couldn’t bear being told what to do so you had to be clever to get him to do what you wanted without telling him, that was his form of control.

“When we look back at Olly as a child, he ruled the house. But we hadn’t made that connection.”

Olly loved primary school but started to struggle when he started secondary education, and his parents hope that more can be done for other children like Olly in the future.

 “It’s highlighted how vulnerable children are,” said Amanda. “His anxiety would feed through to other very negative things that he would do to hurt himself.

“At schools, there isn’t the SEN research to help all of these children that all have unique needs.”

Stuart agreed that more needed to be done to help children with varying needs at school.

He said: "I think the school system is set up for A and B students, so anyone that falls outside of that box, you’re a square peg in a round hole.

“Mental health issues are escalating in this country. Kids, 12-year-olds, are getting depressed. What sort of society have we got where a 12-year-old is on antidepressants?”