A 16-year-old who is accused of two murders in Abbey Wood was hiding under a bed when he was arrested, a jury has been told.

Charlie Bartolo and Kearne Solanke, 16, died after they were found with stab injuries one mile apart in Abbey Wood and Thamesmead on November 26 last year.   

Hussain Bah and Alagie Jobe, both 19, and two boys aged 16 and 17 who cannot be named, are on trial accused of two murders. 

Yesterday (November 9) a trial began with prosecutor William Emyln Jones alleging that Kearne was part of the gang of five who knocked Charlie off his moped with a 4x4, then stabbed him in the head.    

During the violence Kearne is alleged to have been accidentally stabbed by his friend, the 16-year-old defendant. 

The jury were shown harrowing CCTV footage of the incident which took place on Sewell Road, as well as various videos showing the defendant’s movements during the day of Charlie and Kearne’s deaths.

You can read our reports from the first day of the trial here: 

This morning (November 10) Mr Emyln Jones continued to open the case against the four defendants. 

He told the jury how the four defendants came to be arrested, including how one of them was found hiding under a bed. 

The jury were also told that incriminating phone calls were made by the 17-year-old defendant after he was charged with murder. 

Mr Emyln Jones also explained why the four defendants are charged with Kearne’s murder, despite the prosecution’s assertion that it was an accidental killing. 

All four defendants deny both murders, and only the 17-year-old defendant accepts that he was even there. 

News Shopper: Flowers left at the scene where Charlie diedFlowers left at the scene where Charlie died (Image: PA)

Hiding under the bed  

On the evening November 29, three days after Charlie and Kearne died, officers attended the 16-year-old defendant’s girlfriends' home in Thamesmead where they found him hiding under the bed.  

When the 16-year-old was arrested for murder he told officers that both Charlie and Kearne were his friends, the jury were told. 

At the police station he told officers: “They’re actually my friends. I used to play with them when I was younger.”  

Apart from that, he answered “no comment” to all questions. 

At his girlfriend’s address they also found clothes in a black bin bag. 

“It was [the 16-year-old defendant’s] complete outfit from November 26,” Mr Emyln Jones told the jury. 

He added: “All of those clothes – still in perfectly good condition – bagged up and ready to get rid of. You might be asking yourself why?” 

The clothes were sent to a lab and Kearne’s blood was found on them, the jury were told. 

Also on November 29, police were called by the 17-year-old defendant’s sister who said her brother had been threatened.  

When officers visited their home in Bexley the 17-year-old boy had a black eye and a fresh graze on his arm, Mr Emyln Jones said.  

He told officers he had a “beef” with the “Abbey Wood boys” and that he’d been threatened by a friend of the boy who was found dead on Sewell Road (Charlie).  

The 17-year-old defendant also told officers that he himself was friends with Kearne, who was found dead three days earlier.  

Officers arrested the 17-year-old on suspicion of murder. In a prepared statement he denied any involvement. 

He told officers that he visited a friend on Titmuss Avenue, where Kearne was found, on November 26. 

News Shopper: The scene at Titmuss Avenue in Thamesmead where Kearne Solanke was foundThe scene at Titmuss Avenue in Thamesmead where Kearne Solanke was found (Image: PA)

“When I arrived at my friend’s house I saw the scene outside his house. He was already stabbed. My friend knew Kearne as well and he had already called the ambulance,” the 17-year-old defendant told police. 

He told police he tried to call Kearne’s mum but couldn’t get through, so phoned Kearne’s girlfriend. 

He denied any involvement in either death. 

The 17-year-old defendant now accepts that he was in the Nissan Qashqai when the incident happened but he said he was “just chilling”, the jury were told. 

Bah was arrested at his home address on Mottisford Road in Abbey Wood on December 2022, he gave a no comment interview. 

Jobe was arrested at his home address on Sidcup Road in Eltham. 

He also gave a no comment interview except for saying “I was not even there”. 

'Incriminating calls' 

Mr Emyln Jones told the jury that the 17-year-old defendant was recorded talking about the incident with friends and his girlfriend after he had been charged with murder. 

Mr Jones said: “He said that the attack on Charlie Bartolo had to do with a dispute between Thamesmead and Abbey Wood.” 

He referred to Thamesmead as TB and Abbey Wood as A Town. 

The 17-year-old defendant said it was the idea of the other defendants to go on a “ride out” or “spin the block", which Mr Emyln Jones said means a trip into rival territory. 

The teen was also heard saying that the driver of the car started the attack and that the three on the passenger side got out and stabbed Charlie but that he hadn’t, Mr Emyln Jones said. 

Two murders not one, jury told 

Concluding his opening to the jury, prosecutor Mr Emyln Jones explained why all four teens have been charged with two murders. 

Mr Emyln Jones said: “The prosecution case against all of these defendants is that they were all signed up to a joint plan to find and attack someone in Abbey Wood – they were on a ride-out. 

“That is why they went to Abbey Wood; that is why they were armed; and that is why they rammed Charlie Bartolo off his bike – specifically so that he could be stabbed.” 

He told the jury: “The fact that they were a group five strong is significant; no doubt, as you can imagine, all of them will have drawn strength and courage from the presence of the others. They went as a team, with a shared intent.” 

News Shopper: Kearne Solanke was found injured on the side of a road in ThamesmeadKearne Solanke was found injured on the side of a road in Thamesmead (Image: Met Police)Mr Emyln Jones continued: “As for the stabbing of Kearne Solanke, the prosecution’s case is that of course that was not what the group had set out to achieve. 

“You will in due course be given all the assistance you need from the judge, so as to apply the law to the facts as you find them to be. 

“In short, the prosecution suggest that if one or other member of the group – in the course of their joint attack, intending to cause death or at least really serious injury – instead stabs the wrong person, even if that wrong person was one of his own friends – then that is an act of murder just as if the knife had hit its intended target instead of the wrong one.” 

All four defendants deny both murders.

The trial continues at Inner London Crown Court.