Two boys, both 16, found guilty of murdering schoolboy, 14, with sword hidden inside a walking stick

Two boys, both 16, are found guilty of murdering 14-year-old schoolboy who was stabbed with sword hidden inside a walking stick taken from grandfather

  • Fares Maatou, 14, died in his blood soaked school uniform after being stabbed
  • He suffered a single 4.3in (11cm) stab wound to his back inflicted by a sword
  • Two youths, 14 and 15, have been found guilty of the murder in April last year

Two teenagers have been found guilty of murdering a 14-year-old boy who was stabbed with a sword concealed inside a walking stick.

Fares Maatou, 14, was riding an e-scooter along Barking Road in Canning Town, east London, on Friday 23 April last year when he was confronted by two defendants, who were 14 and 15 at the time. 

Jurors heard that one of the now 16-year-old defendants, who cannot be named, fist-bumped Fares’ friend before he ‘grabbed’ him and ‘threw a punch’. 

The younger of the two killers beat the aspiring engineer with the black metal cane which was used to conceal a sword – secretly taken from his grandfather’s home. 

The 15-year-old then lunged at Fares with the long blade three times, with the first leaving him with a single 4.3in (11cm) wound to his shoulder blade, which passed through his chest wall and left lung before striking his pulmonary artery.

The younger boy continued beating him with the casing of the swordstick. Fares tried to run away but slipped, and the defendants continued to attack him.

Two teenagers have been found guilty of murdering 14-year-old boy Fares Maatou (pictured) who was stabbed with a sword concealed inside a walking stick after being confronted as he rode an e-scooter along Barking Road in Canning Town, East London, on Friday 23 April 2021

Two teenagers have been found guilty of murdering 14-year-old boy Fares Maatou (pictured) who was stabbed with a sword concealed inside a walking stick after being confronted as he rode an e-scooter along Barking Road in Canning Town, East London, on Friday 23 April 2021

A friend of Fares then drew a small knife and lunged at one of the boys but did not injure him.

One of the convicted killers fled the scene on Fares’ e-scooter.

The teen died in his blood soaked school uniform after the horror incident outside the Love Choco Cafe on April 23.

In CCTV footage of the attack, Fares was seen to retreat when the older youth brandished the sword. Prosecutor Julian Evans QC said: ‘Fares was not holding anything. He was completely unarmed.

‘Fares offered no threat at all to [the first boy], armed with a sword and advancing towards him, nor did he offer any threat at all to [the second boy], who was now carrying the sheath and was also moving forward towards Fares.

The younger of the two killers beat the aspiring engineer with the black metal cane which was used to conceal a sword - secretly taken from his grandfather's home (the sword is pictured)

The younger of the two killers beat the aspiring engineer with the black metal cane which was used to conceal a sword – secretly taken from his grandfather’s home (the sword is pictured)

The 15-year-old then lunged at Fares with the long blade three times, with the first leaving him with a single 4.3in (11cm) wound to his shoulder blade, which passed through his chest wall and left lung before striking his pulmonary artery. The younger boy continued beating him with the casing of the swordstick (pictured, the sheath)

The 15-year-old then lunged at Fares with the long blade three times, with the first leaving him with a single 4.3in (11cm) wound to his shoulder blade, which passed through his chest wall and left lung before striking his pulmonary artery. The younger boy continued beating him with the casing of the swordstick (pictured, the sheath)

‘Fares reacted by bringing both of his hands up towards his face and head to protect himself.

‘As he, Fares, tried to escape, he turned his back on [the defendants] and he, Fares, moved away. Despite that action, [the defendants] continued to attack him.’

The victim briefly managed to get to his feet once the attack stopped but he lost his footing again and fell against a parked car nearby.

Mr Evans said the weapon would ‘look like a walking stick’ to passers-by.

The two defendants, who are now aged 16, denied murder and claimed they acted in self defence.

Following his arrest, the boy who brandished the sword told police that he had been carrying the sword that day because he feared for his life.

The court heard he claimed that he was recently stabbed by someone linked to Fares’ friend, and thought Fares’ had a knife on him.

Friends and family left floral tributes and balloons outside the scene on Barking Road. The teen died in his blood soaked school uniform after the horror incident outside the Love Choco Cafe on April 23 last year

Friends and family left floral tributes and balloons outside the scene on Barking Road. The teen died in his blood soaked school uniform after the horror incident outside the Love Choco Cafe on April 23 last year

The second alleged attacker also claimed he acted in self-defence, the court heard.

But the prosecutor said: ‘Fares posed them no threat at all. He was unarmed. He displayed no aggression towards them. He did nothing to threaten them.’

A jury at the Old Bailey began deliberating last Tuesday and returned verdicts of guilty on both defendants on Monday afternoon.

Neither of the defendants could be named because of their young age.

Judge Sarah Munro QC adjourned sentencing and remanded the youths into custody.

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