'Devastated' family pays tribute after two boys, 16, stabbed to death less than one mile apart in South London

28 November 2022, 08:02

Charlie Bartolo and Kearne Solanke were stabbed to death on Saturday night
Charlie Bartolo and Kearne Solanke were stabbed to death on Saturday night. Picture: Facebook
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Devastated friends and family of one of the teenagers stabbed to death in South London on Saturday have paid tribute to their loved one, describing him as a "beautiful boy".

Kearne Solanke was stabbed to death in Greenwich on Saturday alongside Charlie Bartolo, with police saying the two fatal stabbings - which took place around one mile apart - are linked.

Kearne's devastated family have taken to social media to pay tribute. His grandmother wrote: "He was loved by all that new him RIP Kearne Solanke my handsome grandson still hasn’t sunk in."

Another family member added: "Rest in perfect paradise our beautiful Kearne thinking of all my family at this awful time."

Another said: "Can’t believe this has even happened, Taken way to soon, Good Night Kearne Solanke RIP you Beautiful Boy You didn’t deserve this."

One boy was found with stab wounds in Titmuss Avenue, Thamesmead and the other in Sewell Road, Abbey Wood, on Saturday afternoon.

A 16-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of their murders.

Detective chief inspector Kate Blackburn said: “This is a positive development in what is a complex and fast-moving investigation. Charlie and Kearne’s families have been informed.

“Our investigation is ongoing and we continue to appeal for the public’s help as we build a picture of what happened on Saturday night. If you have information, no matter how insignificant you think it may be, please come forward.”

Crime scenes remained in place at both locations on Sunday morning with police offices guarding the cordoned off areas.

Several teenage boys laid flowers by the cordon in Titmuss Avenue, where a forensics tent could still be seen by some knocked over dustbins.

One was tearful as he placed a red love-heart balloon alongside them.

Officers later cordoned off a black Nissan with one saying it is a "car of interest" in the investigation.

Bamidele Folorunso, a neighbour who was on the way to church, told the PA news agency: "It is very sad.

"We just found out the boy was on the floor and the police came and they tried to resuscitate him."

A visibly upset Ms Folorunso said: "Since then, everyone in the area has been mourning. It is very sad to lose a 16-year-old boy."

Victor, 30, a football manager, who says he went to school with the victim's mother, said the stabbing was "not normal" for the area but things have been getting worse in recent years.

Kearne has been described as a "beautiful boy"
Kearne has been described as a "beautiful boy". Picture: Facebook

"There is a lot of stuff going on on the street with the young kids - it's due to the lack of youth centres.

"There is not really a place where kids say 'this is a safe environment'."

"I've got three kids. I went and told my partner (about the stabbing) and she said 'I want to get out of here'."

Teresa Cheshire, 50, who also lives on the road, said her children walk down the road every day.

She said: "I just saw a lot of people by the bin shed.

"All I heard was the screaming and that was at 5.20pm.

"It is scary because it is all the press and everything but it is for all the wrong reasons.

"I'm frightened to let my kids outside now.

"It's just shocking."

People pay tribute at the scene in Abbey Wood, Thamesmead
People pay tribute at the scene in Abbey Wood, Thamesmead. Picture: Getty

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Gillian Southwest, 48, who also lives on the road, said: "It is terrible. I have lived here for 28 years.

"If it's the boy I think it is he's a really a good boy."

A 32-year-old man, who did not wish to be named but lived on the road all his life, said he was waiting for an ambulance for his grandmother when a commotion began.

"I heard some noise at about 6 o'clock - the bins were all rattling.

"There are always some kids running through making noise but something like this is out of the ordinary.

"To hear something like this in this area is shocking."

A Section 60 order, providing officers with additional search powers, was in place until 8am this morning. This can be extended if police need extra time.

The two boys' next of kin will be provided with support by specialist officers.

Police are urging anyone with information to contact them by calling 101 and giving the reference 4943/26NOV.

Information can also be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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