A 17-year-old boy has been found guilty of manslaughter following the death of 20-year-old Ben Lines in Bexleyheath last year.
The teenager appeared at the Old Bailey where he was found guilty of manslaughter, and pleaded guilty to ABH.
Ben Lines, from Belvedere, was stabbed at approximately 1448hrs on Sunday, 13 October 2019 in Barnehurst Avenue, Bexleyheath, DA7.
He was taken to hospital via air ambulance where he died shortly before 17.30hrs that same day.
The events that culminated in Ben’s death started over the theft of a small amount of cannabis.
The teenager, who was 16 years of age when the incident occurred, arranged to purchase the drug from Ben and did not pay. Instead, the car that the teenager was travelling in along with two other teenagers, drove away. Ben followed the car and the two vehicles later collided.
The occupants of the vehicles began fighting and witnesses called police.
When officers arrived, Ben was receiving first aid from members of the public, an off-duty police officer and London Ambulance Service on a grass bank area at the junction with Barnehurst Avenue and Merewood Road.
Also on the grass area was a black Ford Fiesta, which had tyre marks in the grass that appeared to show the vehicle had collided with a tree. Next to the grass area was a silver VW Golf abandoned in the middle of Barnehurst Avenue that appeared to have crashed into a parked vehicle.
Local residents who witnessed the immediate aftermath after the crash reported seeing the victim, Ben Lines, get out of the driver’s seat of the Ford Fiesta and approach a silver VW Golf where the front passenger, the 17-year-old boy, got out of the car and the two started fighting.
During this fight, witnesses reported seeing the passenger produce a knife and stab Ben. The teenager then discarded the knife in the car and ran off with the driver of the Golf.
Local residents attempted to detain both boys as they tried to run off. The 17- year-old punched a 41-year-old man in the face and the two boys managed to flee the scene. The man suffered a cut lip and a swollen face and the teenager pleaded guilty to this assault in court.
Police were able to identify the passenger of the Golf and the 17-year-old attended a police station where he was arrested for murder. The teenager admitted being at the scene but denied any involvement in Ben’s death.
On Tuesday, 15 October, the teenager was charged with murder and ABH against the resident who tried to detain him at the scene.
Detective Inspector Tariq Farooqil, Specialist Crime (Homicide) led the investigation. He said: “This was an incredibly tragic event that led to a young man losing his life. Regardless of the events that led up to Ben’s death, it in no way justifies the violence and the awful events that followed.
“I want to praise the bravery of members from the local community who not only gave evidence at court but also intervened at personal risk to themselves to prevent Ben’s attacker leaving the scene and gave Ben CPR. I hope their actions, alongside the verdict reached by the jury, can be of some comfort to Ben’s family and friends.
“This tragic loss of life sadly further underscores the utter senselessness of knife crime, no good ever comes from carrying a knife. The Met remains committed to tackling knife crime as evidenced by the swift actions of my team to identify, arrest and charge the person responsible for Ben’s death.”
A 16-year-old boy [A] arrested on suspicion of attempted murder has been released with no further action.
A 17-year-old boy [C], was charged with driving offences and ABH. He will stand trial at Magistrates court at a later date.
+ Please help us to keep London safe by reporting crime and giving information about crime.
Anyone with information about crime can contact independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. It is independent of police, and is 100% anonymous. They do not ask your name and cannot trace your call or IP address.
If you or someone you know is involved in knife crime and you want help or support, visit: www.knifefree.co.uk