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Last Updated: Monday, 25 June 2007, 16:20 GMT 17:20 UK
Mother's tribute to stabbed son
Ben Hitchcock
Ben Hitchcock had just sat his GCSEs at school
The mother of a teenager stabbed to death in a street fight in south-east London has called him a "loving boy" and urged witnesses to come forward.

Ben Hitchcock, 16, died of his wounds after being stabbed in an attack in Southend Road, Beckenham, shortly before midnight on Saturday.

The stabbing was not racially motivated and resulted from a fight with gatecrashers at a party, police said.

Fourteen teenagers, including a girl, were arrested over the incident.

"My son was loved very much by his family and many friends. We will miss him terribly, more than anything in the world," Ben's mother, Lee Hitchcock, said.

"Ben was the kindest, happiest and most loving boy that ever walked this earth.

Teenagers bailed

"He was 16 and had just finished his exams at school. He had the rest of his life before him.

"I appeal to anyone who knows who killed my Ben to get in touch with the police. We must know the truth about what happened."

The 14 arrested teenagers, aged between 13 to 16 years, have since been bailed to return on Wednesday.

Det Supt Simon Morgan said: "There is nothing at this stage to say this is racially motivated. To say this is gang-related is not right in this incident.

The school is extremely shocked at the tragic loss of this young man's life
Brian Lloyd, head teacher

"The incident simply evolved from gate crashing a party and that is the motive behind what has led to a full blown fight at this location and tragic consequences."

Following a disturbance police were called to the scene and the party was ended.

Police believe calls were made to others and youngsters at the party came out on the street. By the time the fight broke out 40 young people had gathered at the scene.

Officers recovered a number of knives and bricks from the area.

One of Ben's friends, Karim Shakur, said: "You've got to watch your back now and wherever you go you've to look over your shoulder because don't know who it might be."

Brian Lloyd, head teacher at Kelsey Park Sports College in Beckenham where Ben recently sat his GCSEs, said: "The school is extremely shocked at the tragic loss of this young man's life."

Eyewitness describes the incident

Teenager killed in street fight
24 Jun 07 |  London

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