Fares Maatou was 'murdered with stolen sword', court hears

Fares Maatou

Fares Maatou was fatally stabbed in Canning Town on April 23, 2021 - Credit: MPS

An unarmed schoolboy was murdered in broad daylight by two teenagers armed with a sword that "looked like a walking stick", the Old Bailey has heard.

Victim Fares Maatou, 14, was allegedly set upon by two boys following a confrontation involving a larger group in Barking Road,  Canning Town, on the afternoon of Friday April 23 last year.

The boys, both aged 16, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have gone on trial at the Central Criminal Court today (June 22).

Fares “offered no threat at all” to the suspects, and tried to escape, prosecutor Julian Evans QC told jurors.

He suffered a single 11cm injury to the left side of his upper back, caused by the sword which was said to have been stolen from the second defendant’s grandfather, and passed to the first defendant to use.

The second defendant, then aged 14, allegedly beat Fares with the sheath, before both youths fled the scene.

The attack was caught on CCTV.

Mr Evans said Fares moved backwards when the older defendant brandished the sword.

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He said: “Both of his [Fares’] hands were in front of him at waist height – 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 older boy then lunged at Fares – the first of three such attempted blows with the sword – while the younger boy swung the sheath.

The prosecutor 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, the jury as told.

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

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

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

Both defendants claim they were acting in self-defence.

The trial continues.