Murder appeal renewed after teen Tommie Warde killed in Star Lane, Orpington
PUBLISHED: 14:56 23 August 2013 | UPDATED: 14:56 23 August 2013
The father of a teenage boy murdered two years ago by having a plank of wood impaled through his head while he rode pillion on a motorbike believes at least 15 people saw the incident.
Declan Warde, 43, has appealed to people who were in Star Lane, Orpington on August 9, 2011, when Tommy Warde, 17, had a large shard of wood thrown at him to come forward and hopes the £20,000 reward will encourage them to speak up.
During the afternoon, Tommie and one of his friends decided to buy a motorbike, having heard noises from a group of boys who were riding motorbikes in Star Lane.
They gathered their money together and bought an off road bike from the boys for £150. They took the bike back to Tommie’s friend’s house where they did some repairs so they could take it to the park to ride it.
The boys walked the bike back along Star Lane on the pavement where they noticed a large group of people hanging around drinking.
They decided to ride the bike along the road to avoid the group but neither boy had a crash helmet with them. Tommie was riding as the pillion passenger and the group started throwing cans as they passed.
Tommie’s friend says the teen suddenly fell backwards from the bike landing in the road. When he turned around, he saw that Tommie had a shard of wood protruding from his head, which had penetrated his skull and pierced deep into his brain.
He was taken to hospital where he underwent surgery, but he never regained consciousness and on August 13 the equipment that was keeping him alive was switched off and he died.
“All we want is justice,” said Mr Warde. “We shouldn’t have to be visiting our son’s grave while the person who did this walks free.
“He was a very caring boy, very respectful. He helped do shopping for people in the community. This has been an absolute nightmare. We are all trying to acclimatise to it. You have to move on but this should never have happened.”
Police say there has been a ‘wall of silence’ since the incident but believe many people in the area who hold information about Tommie’s killer.
Tommie’s mother suffered a heart attack in the April following her son’s death, which Mr Warde believes was as a result of the murder. She has since made a recovery. He added: “There were 15 people in the area and nobody has said anything. They are all frightened.”
Tommie had just completed a Construction Skills Certificate Scheme which would have enabled him to work with his father in the building industry.
Det Sgt Simon Bell, from the Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said: “It has been two years since that August afternoon that ended in tragedy for Tommie and his family. Police remain keen to hear from anyone who has any information that can help to bring Tommie’s killer to justice.
“We know that there were a large group of people who were gathered in Star Lane that day. They will have seen what happened and be able to identify the person responsible.
“The police investigation encountered a wall of silence that has remained over the last two years. Now that time has passed I am hopeful that someone may now feel that they can now come forward and speak out and help us to bring Tommie’s killer to justice.”
On 27 February 2012, the trail of John Alan Vincent, who had been charged with Tommie’s murder, was discontinued at the Old Bailey.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the investigation team on 0208 721 4906 or call Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111.