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Monday, September 20, 1999 Published at 18:48 GMT 19:48 UK


Three guilty of Jamie murder

Police described the three as "very violent young men"

Three teenagers have been convicted of the murder of 17-year-old Jamie Robe, who was beaten to death on a south London housing estate two years ago.

Aaron Cole, 19, James Pearce, 19, and David Huggins, 18, were remanded at the Old Bailey for pre-sentence reports. All face indefinite terms behind bars.

Steven Plank, 18, and a juvenile who cannot be named for legal reasons, were cleared.

[ image: Jamie: 20 different injuries]
Jamie: 20 different injuries
All five defendants, who are all from south London and were aged between 14 and 17 at the time of the attack, had denied the allegations.

Jamie received 20 separate injuries when he was beaten with snooker cues and bats by a gang after being sick on the pavement on a street in Rotherhithe's Osprey estate on 7 August 1997.

Police officers said they faced an immediate "wall of terrified silence" when they tried to speak to witnesses.

Many only spoke after police launched a hugely expensive witness protection scheme, moving some witnesses and even their family and friends from the area.

MP intervenes

When Jamie's family leafleted for information about the killers, they generated so much hostility on the estate that they had to be given police protection.

The case was eventually taken up by local Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes, who assured witnesses they would be protected from possible reprisals and their anonymity guaranteed if they gave evidence.

He controversially arranged for the deportation of an illegal immigrant to be overruled, because his evidence was so valuable to the enquiry.

Outside the court, Dept Asst Comm Andy Trotter, who supervised the original inquiry, said the case had been expensive, but the police had been determined to catch the killers "at all costs".

And he said there may be a further trial.

A sixth man, aged 18, who also cannot be named, is wanted in connection with the murder but he is currently on the run from police. At least two other suspects are still being sought.

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