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Youth guilty of James Hunter murder in Sydenham

PUBLISHED: 11:13 27 February 2015 | UPDATED: 11:13 27 February 2015

Murdered: James Hunter

Murdered: James Hunter

Archant

18-year-old killed in Wells Park Road trying to protect friend

Five boys involved in the murder of a teenager in Sydenham who was killed as he tried to protect a friend from a revenge attack, have been convicted at court.

James Hunter, 18, from Sydenham, died in Wells Park Road, on May 31, 2014, after being stabbed by one of a group of five boys who had attacked and stabbed his 17-year-old friend.

A 17-year-old boy was today found guilty of the murder of James Hunter and guilty of wounding his friend.

Three other 17-year-old boys were found guilty of wounding and found not-guilty of the murder of James Hunter.

A 16-year-old boy connected to the murder was convicted of intentionally assisting or encouraging an offence and possession of an offensive weapon.

Sentencing will take place on 14 April.

Another 17-year-old boy on trial for murder and wounding was cleared on all counts.

The court heard how the trigger for events that led to James’s murder began weeks before the night of his death, and didn’t involve him or even any of those convicted of his murder.

In the weeks leading up to the murder the 17-year-old stab victim became involved in a verbal altercation with a boy he did not know in the Wells Park area.

In the week before the murder the two came face-to-face again at a bus stop in Forest Hill.

On the day of his murder James had spent it with his best friend. While walking to some shops they met the 17-year-old, who they both knew and went to the chicken shop on Wells Park Road.

James and his friend went to a nearby convenience store and when they were returning towards where the 17-year-old was they saw a group of boys get off the 365 bus and approach him.

Words were exchanged between the group and the 17-year-old.

The group then attacked the 17-year-old, with several of them armed with knives. The 17-year-old was stabbed and fell to the floor and was stabbed again. James intervened to defend the 17-year-old and was stabbed himself.

James collapsed and his friend called an ambulance (this was around 10.30pm) and put him in the recovery position.

Police and ambulance service attended the scene but James was pronounced dead.

A post mortem examination gave his cause of death as a stab wound to the heart.

Three of the five suspects fled the scene using the 197 bus, their conversations about what had taken place overheard and their actions after the events caught on CCTV.

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