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Abbey Wood Tragedy: Life Sentences for Teen Killers in Double Murder Case

In a harrowing case that has shaken the community of Abbey Wood and beyond, two teenagers, Alagie Jobe and Hussain Bah, both 19, have been sentenced to life in prison for the murders of 16-year-old boys Charlie Bartolo and Kearne Solanke. The sentencing took place at Inner London Crown Court on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, marking a sombre conclusion to a series of events that led to an unprecedented tragedy.

On the evening of November 26, 2022, a group of five teenagers, described by prosecutors as “armed to the teeth” with knives and machetes, embarked on a deadly mission from Thamesmead to Abbey Wood. Their target was a local boy, but the night ended with two 16-year-olds dead, one of whom was mistakenly killed by his accomplices.

Emotional hug between mother and child indoors.

The court heard how Hussain Bah, driving a Nissan Qashqai, rammed Charlie Bartolo off his motorbike on Sewell Road. Alagie Jobe, Kearne Solanke, and a 16-year-old accomplice then launched a brutal attack on Charlie, stabbing him to death as he lay defenceless on the ground. In a moment of chaotic violence, one of the assailants fatally stabbed Kearne Solanke, mistaking him for another target.

Smiling young person with unique hairstyle.

Keane Solanke was later found on Titmuss Avenue in Thamesmead, where he was left to die on the pavement. The senseless violence of that night was underscored by Judge Neil Garnham KC as he addressed the “lunacy of young men carrying knives,” condemning the culture of knife carrying and glorification that has plagued many cities.

Bah and Jobe, along with an 18-year-old named Jake Debonsu and another 16-year-old, were found guilty of both murders. The group, associated with the Thamesmead gang known as T-Block, had embarked on a joint plan to attack someone in Abbey Wood, leading to the tragic loss of Charlie and Kearne.

Young man with a short haircut, cloud background.

During the sentencing, Judge Garnham highlighted the unprovoked nature of the attack on Charlie Bartolo, who had been out enjoying his new motorbike, a Christmas gift from his mother. There had been local speculation that Charlie was targeted due to gang affiliations, but the judge affirmed there was no evidence to support such claims.

The courtroom was moved by the victim impact statements read by the mothers of both boys. Emma, Charlie’s mother, expressed her profound grief and hatred for the perpetrators who robbed her son of his future. Kearne’s mother shared the agony of losing her son, who had big dreams and aspirations for his future.

This case has laid bare the devastating impact of knife crime, not only on the victims and their families but also on the wider community. Detective Chief Inspector Kate Blackburn, leading the investigation, praised the meticulous work of her team in piecing together the events of that fateful night, highlighting the tragic irony that one of the attackers inadvertently killed a member of their group.

As the community mourns the loss of Charlie and Kearne, the sentences handed down to Bah and Jobe serve as a stark reminder of the consequences of knife violence. The Metropolitan Police’s commitment to tackling knife crime remains steadfast, with the hope that such tragedies can be prevented in the future. Jake Debonsu and the unnamed 16-year-old will face sentencing in the coming weeks, closing a chapter on a case that has left an indelible mark on all involved.

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