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Murder squad working for new trial over Ben's killing

PUBLISHED: 15:11 18 November 2009 | UPDATED: 10:11 12 August 2010

DETECTIVES devastated by the collapse of a murder trial claim they just need one more piece of evidence to bring new charges.

DETECTIVES devastated by the collapse of a murder trial claim they just need one more piece of evidence to bring new charges.

The last of the four teenagers charged with the murder of Ben Hitchock, 16, was cleared of the crime earlier this month - on the direction of an Old Bailey judge, as reported in the Times.

Ben was knifed in the back during a brawl involving up to 60 youths armed with knives, bottles and sticks on June 23, 2007, in Beckenham.

Three other youths were cleared in a trial earlier this year.

Detective Inspector Stewart Kingston said: "The evidence used the in the trial were fingerprints and the blood of a suspect found at the scene.

"We took 950 statements, 200 interviews, 2,123 were seen as part of this enquiry, the forensic bill was huge.

"This has been two years of exhaustive work and to get to this stage after charging four is devastating."

In a bid to get witnesses to come forward, they have released information about the murder weapon used to kill Ben which came from a pack of kitchen knives that can be bought in a 99p store in Lewisham shopping centre.

Officers visited the company who import them at 12.5 pence a packet from the Far East.

Other items found at the scene thought to have been used in the brawl include a beer bottle, a brick and a weight.

Mr Kingston added: "For some it is a packet of kitchen knives and for other people it is a murder kit.

"We are trying to get further new and compelling evidence - anyone who has heard a confession or heard someone bragging about the murder.

"There were lots of people who were in the area who we have not been able to trace. They have now grown up and are at college and I don't want this to be on their conscience. I am only interested in pursuing the murderer."

He added: "Ben's mum was devastated at the trial result. The first thing she said was, 'well who killed my son?'

"Ben's small group thought that they had been invited to a party and they didn't realise others had armed themselves with bottles and they called for reinforcements who came with the knives.

"Much was made in the press about the Penge Boys and Ben. They are just a group of young lads. The name is more of a joke between them.

"Ben got eight GCSEs. He would have gone onto college."

Anyone with information about the murder of Ben Hitchcock should call 0208 721 4961.

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