Teenage gang member cleared of murder

A TEENAGE boy who stabbed a gang rival to death in the street was cleared of murder after a judge ruled he acted in self defence.

The youth, who cannot be named but is from Barking, plunged a knife into the heart of Olukorede Fajinmi, 17, during a clash between two gangs.

It emerged during the Old Bailey trial that Olukorede was part of the “Dagenham Boys” who had left a party at the Powerleague Leisure Centre in Beckton on February 19 this year. Witnesses told how they spotted a larger group from the “Harts Lane” gang in Barking and charged at them, forcing them to flee.

The 16-year-old defendant was caught and stabbed in the shoulder twice by Olukorede before taking out his own knife and causing the fatal injury, jurors heard. His friends also told the court that they feared for their lives when they were chased by the Dagenham Boys.

The judge ruled he had acted in self defence.

The prosecution has dropped a charge against a second teenager who was said to have stabbed the 16-year-old in revenge for killing Olukorede.

Jurors will now only have to consider whether the second youth, also 16, and his 47-year-old mother perverted the course of justice by hiding his bloodstained jacket.

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Prosecutor Ed Brown told the court: “The inevitable reality of this case is that young people were armed that night with knives. Had they not been, Olukorede Fajinmi would no doubt be alive today.”

The 16-year-old boy had denied murdering Olukorede, from Ilford. Olukorede’s friend, from Dagenham, denies wounding with intent. He and his mother, also from Dagenham, deny perverting the course of justice. The trial continues.