Teenager found guilty of murdering Baptista Adjei, 15, on bus in Stratford
PUBLISHED: 14:47 11 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:57 11 August 2020
A teenager has been found guilty of killing a 15-year-old boy on a bus over a “trivial” row on Snapchat.
The 16-year-old defendant was found guilty of murdering Baptista Adjei, who was fatally stabbed following a “school beef chat” in front of a group of 32 youngsters on social media.
A second defendant, also 16, was found not guilty over his involvement. Neither teen can be named for legal reasons.
The Old Bailey heard that one of the youths alerted the other after spotting Baptista and his friends on a bus to Stratford on the afternoon of October 10 last year.
When the bus pulled up, the second youth boarded, wearing a blue latex glove and carrying a “vicious looking” hunting knife.
He attacked Baptista with the 10in blade, stabbing him in the chest twice and puncturing his lung and heart, jurors were told.
Mortally injured, the boy got off the bus and ran away but collapsed on the ground near a McDonald’s restaurant.
Another boy was stabbed in the arm and leg but survived. He spent a week in hospital but has since made a full recovery.
He later told police that the attack had followed some inter-school banter on Snapchat a couple of weeks earlier.
He said the “school beef chat” had started out in fun ahead of a football match.
One of the defendants had sent Baptista a message saying: “If you’ve got no bodies on your blade, leave the group chat.”
Baptista allegedly replied: “Shut up. You’ll be the first.”
Prosecutor Deanna Heer said it was a “shocking case” and “almost unthinkable” that the defendants could have armed themselves with hunting knives over “something so trivial”.
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She told jurors: “They armed themselves with those hunting knives to go hunting Baptista and (his friend). This was not a spontaneous attack.”
The teenager who wielded the knife had admitted the manslaughter of Baptista and unlawful wounding of the other boy.
But he denied the more serious alternative charges of murder and wounding with intent, claiming he only took the knife to scare Baptista and cause a minor injury.
He told jurors he could not remember what he did to Baptista on the bus.
But CCTV footage showed the 16-year-old, from Manor Park, calmly pull a balaclava over his face while wearing a blue latex glove and stab Baptista and his friend in an attack lasting just nine seconds.
The following day, the teen was confronted by members of his own family who had heard rumours about the murder, and he admitted the attack on both victims. He was subsequently presented to police at Forest Gate police station by his mother.
The second defendant accepted that he was on the bus, having tapped in with his Oyster card and been caught on CCTV.
He denied “tipping off” the other 16-year-old, telling jurors he had no idea what his friend was going to do.
the jury of 10 women and two men deliberated for just under 22 hours before reaching verdicts on Tuesday, August 11 on both youths.
DCI Chris Soole, who led the investigation, said: “After killing Baptista and seriously injuring his friend, the killer took a bus back to his home in Manor Park.
“I am saddened that anyone can be of a mindset where murder is considered an appropriate response to chat room banter or name calling.
“My thoughts are with Baptista’s family and friends and I sincerely hope that the verdict brings them a measure of peace at this saddest of times.”
A spokesperson for Baptista’s family said: “Nothing and no sentence will bring back Baptista.
“We want this to be a lesson to those who glamourise this type of crime to bear in mind the long lasting damage it can do to the families involved.”
The teenager who was found guilty of murder was remanded in custody to appear for sentencing at the Old Bailey on Friday, September 25.
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