Young football ‘star’ brought knife to his Dagenham school
PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 February 2016
A promising young footballer brought a kitchen knife to his school because he wanted protection against bullies, a court has heard.
The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was scouted by West Ham United Football Club and “touted as a potential star” until revelations about his family led to stabbing threats.
He was found to be in possession of a five-inch blade and a bag of cannabis in a routine search at his Dagenham school on January 27.
Barkingside Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday how he became nervous and angry, with staff being forced to restrain him – at which point the kitchen knife was found.
He later told police: “I’ve got myself in a bit of trouble and I need it for my protection.”
The trouble, he said, came after he discovered in 2014 that his father had been convicted of a serious crime and peers began to spread rumours about his family.
He also told police two boys had said they wanted to stab him, while a verbal threat was delivered to his friend’s phone.
For the defence, Mr Modupe said the boy’s life had been negatively affected by his father’s conviction.
“He was touted as a potential star,” he said. “But after , his life started going downhill.”
Mr Modupe also said on the day of the incident a fellow student threatened to slap the boy.
“The impact of the news of his father’s past would have a devastating effect on an adult, never mind a young person,” he added.
The defendant, who apologised for his actions, was given a six-month referral order and told to pay a £15 victim surcharge.
Chief magistrate David Hartshorn sympathised with the boy’s situation and said there was a “great future” for him in football.
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