Page last updated at 11:04 GMT, Thursday, 28 May 2009 12:04 UK

Boy was killed in gang 'battle'

Ben Hitchcock
Ben died after a "major disturbance", the court heard

A 16-year-old boy died after up to 60 gang members clashed in a "pitched battle" using knives, sticks and other weapons, the Old Bailey has heard.

Ben Hitchcock, from Penge, south-east London, was stabbed in the back after gatecrashing a party in Beckenham with his friends in June 2007.

Edward Brown QC, prosecuting, said some saw Ben's death "as a success".

Royston Thomas, 19, Mitchell Elliott, 19, Andre Bennett, 18, and Tunji Ololu, 18, deny murder.

As he lay dead or dying, it was as if it was something that was a success in some people's eyes
Edward Brown QC

Mr Brown said: "Ben Hitchcock died as a result of a dreadful example of gang violence.

"His murder was the direct result of what was a pitched battle between rival gangs."

He added: "It was a major disturbance in which many were involved... planned amongst most of those who took part.

"As he lay dead or dying, it was as if it was something that was a success in some people's eyes. There were boasts about having been responsible for his death."

The defendants were said to be members of the Lewisham Blue Borough group, while Ben was part of the rival Penge Green Borough gang.

The names refer to the official colours of neighbouring boroughs Lewisham and Bromley, where Penge is situated.

Describing events at the party, Mr Brown said: "Ben Hitchcock, wearing white clothing, stood out as being noticeably rude."

Amid an atmosphere of taunting and thinly disguised threats of violence, the police arrived and called a halt to proceedings, the court heard.

However, "a running battle on the street" broke out as the Penge group headed home.

Mr Brown said: "Although there seems to have been no significance in it at all, he stood out to a degree - according to many, he was the only one white boy amongst the three groups and he was also wearing white clothes."



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