Teenager found guilty of stabbing 15-year-old to death over 'trivial' Snapchat row

11 August 2020, 14:37

The 16-year-old defendant was found guilty at the Old Bailey
The 16-year-old defendant was found guilty at the Old Bailey. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

A teenager has been found guilty of stabbing a 15-year-old boy to death on a bus over a "trivial" row on Snapchat.

The 16-year-old defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found guilty of murdering Baptista Adjei following a "school beef chat" in a group chat of 32 teenagers.

A second defendant, also 16, was found not guilty over his involvement.

The Old Bailey heard that one of the youths alerted the other after spotting Baptista and his friends on a bus to Stratford in east London on 10 October last year.

When the bus pulled up, the second teenager boarded, wearing a blue latex glove and carrying a "vicious looking" hunting knife.

He attacked Baptista with the 10 inch blade, stabbing him in the chest twice and puncturing his lung and heart, jurors were told.

Seriously injured, he got off the bus and ran away, but soon collapsed on the ground near a McDonald's restaurant.

Another boy suffered serious injuries to his arm and leg but survived.

Baptista Adjei was stabbed to death after an argument on a Snapchat group chat
Baptista Adjei was stabbed to death after an argument on a Snapchat group chat. Picture: PA Images

Prosecutor Deanna Heer said it was a "shocking case" and "almost unthinkable" that the defendants could have armed themselves with hunting knives over "something so trivial".

She told jurors: "They armed themselves with those hunting knives to go hunting Baptista and (his friend).

"This was not a spontaneous attack. The evidence shows he had a knife with him and a balaclava to cover his face and at least one latex glove to handle the knife."

Read more: 15-year-old victim named as schoolboy Baptista Adjei

The altercation between the two groups had started as a "school beef chat" and was only intended as a bit of fun ahead of a football match, but quickly turned into a bitter argument.

One of the defendants had sent Baptista a message saying: "If you've got no bodies on your blade, leave the group chat."

Baptista allegedly replied: "Shut up. You'll be the first."

The teenager who wielded the knife admitted the manslaughter of Baptista and unlawful wounding of the other boy, but denied the more serious charges of murder and wounding with intent.

He claims he only took the knife to scare Baptista and cause a minor injury, and told jurors he could not remember what he did to Baptista on the bus.

The second defendant, however, accepted that he was on the bus after evidence showed he tapped in with his Oyster card and had been caught on CCTV.

He denied "tipping off" the other 16-year-old, telling jurors he had no idea what his friend was going to do.

His barrister, Kerim Fuad QC, told jurors: "Anyone who was or may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and unaware that another person would actually seek to do something so crazy as to come on to a bus in broad daylight, take out and use a knife in the way we see, should be found not guilty."

After the stabbing, his client was in "pure panic, living a dawning tragic realisation as to what his close mate had done", Mr Fuad added.

The jury of 10 women and two men deliberated for just under 22 hours before reaching verdicts on Tuesday on both youths.