Page last updated at 16:47 GMT, Friday, 11 July 2008 17:47 UK

Youth guilty of schoolboy murder

Martin Dinnegan
Martin was stabbed four times in the back

A 16-year-old youth has been found guilty of murdering 14-year-old stab victim Martin Dinnegan.

Martin was chased and stabbed to death near his home in Holloway, north London, in June last year.

The Old Bailey heard that Martin was attacked during a dispute involving up to 20 youths.

A 17-year-old was found guilty of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm. The youths were remanded in custody for sentencing on 8 August.

Two other defendants were cleared of murder.

Martin lived on a local housing estate where there was rivalry with youths living on another estate.

'Dirty looks'

The court heard that the row began when a group on a bus and another group on bikes gave each other "dirty looks".

The youths on cycles then followed the group from the bus.

The groups clashed twice - first in a nearby park then one-and-a-half hours later next to a housing estate.

Each group had a knife and screwdriver was also used during the fight, the jury heard.

In the second confrontation, Martin and another youth clashed with the 16-year-old, who was left with a cut on his shoulder.

Martin then fled, chased by members of the rival group.

Local resident Tom Morgan said he saw Martin running past him shouting: "Please help me."

Martin fell to the ground and was pinned down by the 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Rapid attack

Mr Morgan added: "Then I saw what seemed to be a stabbing motion rather than a punching motion, four or five times in very rapid succession."

Martin was stabbed four times in the back and died in the street in the arms of his brothers James and Anthony, the court heard.

Aftab Jafferjee QC, prosecuting, told the jury that teenagers posturing in front of their friends and preparing for violent confrontations was now a scourge of towns and cities.

"This is such a case, which leads from dirty looks to death in one hour," he said.

All the defendants had denied all charges. The 17-year-old was cleared of murder and manslaughter.

Any of those youths involved in these confrontations could just have likely become the victim in this case
Acting Det Ch Insp Stewart Hill

Rene John-Baptiste, 21, of Plaistow, east London, and Sean Clark, 19, of Holloway, were cleared of murder.

After the verdicts were delivered Martin's mother Lorraine shouted: "Spit on them!" before storming out of court.

Outside court, acting Det Ch Insp Stewart Hill said Martin's murder highlighted "the potential fatal consequences that may result from carrying knives and other weapons".

"In this case an innocuous meeting of two groups of youths escalated into a series of confrontations resulting in Martin's tragic murder," he said.

"Any of those youths involved in these confrontations could just have likely become the victim in this case."

Stabbed boy cried 'Please help'
02 Jun 08 |  London
'Dirty look' led to boy's death
29 May 08 |  London

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