Pair guilty of murdering boy with sword hidden inside walking stick

Fares Maatou

Fares Maatou was fatally stabbed in Canning Town on Friday (April 23). - Credit: MPS

Two youths have been found guilty of murdering a 14-year-old boy who was stabbed with a sword that looked like a walking stick.

Unarmed Fares Maatou, 14, was set upon in broad daylight following a confrontation involving a larger group in Barking Road in Canning Town, on the afternoon of April 23 last year.

Fares “offered no threat at all” and was trying to escape the defendants, who were aged 14 and 15 at the time, jurors were told.

Neither of the defendants, who are now 16, can be named because of their young age.

Fares suffered a single 11cm wound to his back, caused by the sword stolen from the younger defendant’s grandfather, and passed to the 15-year-old to use, the court heard throughout the course of the trial.

The 14-year-old defendant then beat Fares with the sheath before both boys fled the scene, it was said.

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.”

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The older boy then lunged at Fares – the first of three attempted blows with the sword – while the younger boy swung the sheath.

Mr Evans said: “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 older defendant lunged at Fares two further times, the court heard. 

Fares tried to run away but slipped and the defendants continued to attack him.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

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

The two defendants denied murder and claimed they acted in self defence.

A jury at the Old Bailey began deliberating last Tuesday (July 12) and returned verdicts of guilty on both defendants this afternoon (July 18).

Judge Sarah Munro QC adjourned sentencing until July 27 and remanded the youths into custody.