Charles Riddington has been found guilty of the murder of George Barker in the Double K Gym in Bexley nearly three years ago.

Riddington, 37, from Orpington, stabbed 24-year-old Mr Barker 17 times on the morning of November 14, 2016 inside the gym in what the prosecution described as a “merciless attack.”

As he was led out of the dock at The Old Bailey, Mr Riddington turned to the jury and said: “Hope you’re satisfied.”

He has been cleared of carrying a knife on the day of the murder.

Mr Barker’s partner had given birth to his baby daughter just five days before he died.

Concluding a dramatic trial which saw two witnesses unable to attend, the unanimous verdict from a jury of 10 was delivered on September 5, 2019.

The jury reached its verdict after deliberating for 12 hours and 48 minutes.

Wearing a blue shirt and black trousers with his hands behind his back, Riddington did not react as the verdict was delivered.

A woman believed to be his sister-in-law collapsed in the public gallery and had to be helped out by staff.

Throughout the trial, Riddington claimed he had acted in self defence when he stabbed Mr Barker to death after Mr Barker produced a lock knife, breaking down in tears as he described fighting for his life.

Evidence gathered by police during the investigation suggested Mr Barker was an international drug dealer involved in the wholesale supply of drugs. He appeared to have contacts in Spain, Belgium and The Netherlands.

Police also received information that the day before he was killed, Mr Barker tried to buy a gun from a travellers’ site in Sutton-at-Hone, but this information could not be verified.

Riddington, a father-of-two, stabbed Mr Barker to death at the Double K Gym in a struggle for a knife on the morning of November 14, 2016.

During the struggle, the defendant stabbed Mr Barker 17 times with a lock-knife causing three fatal deep wounds to his left lung and spleen.

The defendant then ran out of the gym leaving Mr Barker bleeding on the floor.

He took a flight from Manchester to Dusseldorf the next day using a fake passport in the name of Barry Ryan.

Riddington later worked with his Dad’s cousin in South Africa before heading to North Cyprus, where he was arrested in 2018 and extradited to the UK to face a murder charge.

According to the prosecution, the fight broke out over “ill feeling” relating to a debt that was owed.

The defendant admitted to the court he was “belittling” Mr Barker on the morning of the murder, making jibes about his newborn baby and calling him “moneybags.”

He claimed he had told Mr Barker: “I tell you what you need to do George, you need to stop going out buying champagne with other people’s money. You need to put your money indoors for that baby,” before the fight broke out.

A witness statement from the Double K Gym’s owner, Kieran Keddle, which was read to the court, told how Riddington attacked Barker with a “four-inch blade.”

Mr Keddle wrote: "There was lots of blood. George walked towards me and said, 'call an ambulance'."

Despite best efforts from paramedics, Mr Barker was pronounced dead outside the Double K Gym on the morning of November 14, 2016.

Two key witnesses to the murder, Kieran Keddle and Luke Whelan, could not attend the trial.

Mr Whelan, a trainer at Double K Gym, went missing the day before the trial was due to commence. He was last seen at King’s Cross Station in London.

Mr Keddle, the owner of the gym, has been living in Calgary, Canada and claimed he was too traumatised by the events of November 14, 2016 to give evidence.

During the police investigation, a canister of tear gas and a stun gun were recovered from a wardrobe in Mr Riddington's house on Winterbourne Avenue. He pleaded guilty to possession of these items on the first day of the trial.

Mr Riddington’s sentencing for murder, possession of a stun gun and possession of tear gas has been adjourned until later in the month.