On November 26, 2022, Charlie Bartolo went for the first ride on his new motorbike, a Christmas present from his mum that had arrived a month early. 

“Charlie went out that evening an innocent 16-year-old boy enjoying a bike for the first time that he had begged me for,” said Charlie’s mum. 

“Before he left his smile was from ear to ear. He was so grateful and thankful. Never did I think that would be the last time I saw my boy.”   

At around 5pm that evening Charlie and two friends were riding their motorbikes along Sewell Road in Abbey Wood when he was deliberately rammed by an SUV. 

As he laid defenceless on the ground, three of the five teenage boys in the car jumped out and stabbed Charlie to death. 

Kearne Solanke was one of the teens who jumped out of the car to attack Charlie, but during the violence was accidentally stabbed by his own friend. 

He was driven to Titmuss Avenue in Thamesmead, where he died. 

The four other teens in the car were found guilty of both Charlie and Kearne’s murders on January 26, 2024. 

News Shopper: Titmuss Avenue, where Kearne was found with a single stab woundTitmuss Avenue, where Kearne was found with a single stab wound (Image: PA)

'Charlie had everything to live for'

At the trial the jury were told the Charlie’s killers were motivated by a “post-code rivalry” between Abbey Wood and Thamesmead. 

The five teens drove to Abbey Wood, “armed to the teeth with knives”, looking for a victim to attack and Charlie was their unfortunate victim, prosecutor William Emyln Jones had said. 

One of the killers described Charlie as “wet” and a “civilian”, meaning he wasn’t involved in gangs. 

Emma described her son as her pride and joy. 

“Charlie had everything to live for. He was due to sit his GCSEs and had an apprenticeship lined up in electricity and plumbing,” she said. 

“I was invited to a memorial for Charlie at his secondary school where peers in his year group and teachers of Bexleyheath Academy spoke about their memories of Charlie. 

“It was clear to see Charlie was a huge presence within their school community and is hugely missed.” 

News Shopper: Charlie BartoloCharlie Bartolo (Image: Supplied)Emma said Charlie was surrounded by a loving family, but he gave even more love back. 

“The younger generations of our family struggle to understand why they can't play football with him anymore or spend time at the lake with him,” Emma said. 

“They miss his jokes, his laugh, they miss the care and love he showed them.” 

'So much trauma and heartbreak'

“No parent should ever have to bury their child, but those five boys took my son's life so brutally that they also took from me the ability to kiss, hold and touch my son because he was classed as a crime scene,” Emma said. 

Charlie was stabbed eight times and his cause of death was a wound to his head which penetrated his brain. 

Emma said: “I want you to be aware of the obstacles placed in my way when going to see my son in a morgue. 

“I couldn't touch his face or replace his hat due to the removal of his skull which was required for evidence due to the severity of blunt force trauma and blade penetration. 

“I was unable to dress my son due to the horrific knife wounds all over his body. His brand-new trainers were unable to be put on correctly on one foot due to it practically hanging off.” 

News Shopper: Flowers left at the scene where Charlie died Flowers left at the scene where Charlie died (Image: PA)Emma said she was overwhelmed by the love shown to Charlie on the day of his funeral. 

She said he had a huge circle of friends from Abbey wood, Thamesmead, Deptford, Maidstone and beyond. 

“Not only did blood family lose Charlie but so did the friends that classed him as family,” Emma said. 

At the age of 15, Charlie’s best friend Riley lowered him into his final resting place. 

“The actions of five boys on that night have affected so many lives for years to come. Causing so much trauma and heartbreak,” Emma said. 

‘Get knives off our streets’ 

All four defendants had denied murder and only one of them admitted being in the car that hit Charlie. 

Alagie Jobe, of Sidcup Road in Eltham, and Hussain Bah, of Mottisford Road in Abbey Wood, both aged 19, were convicted of Charlie and Kearne’s murders. 

They are due to be sentenced on Wednesday (February 7). 

News Shopper: Alagie Jobe and Hussain Bah, both 19Alagie Jobe and Hussain Bah, both 19 (Image: Met Police)Two teens, aged 16 and 17, were also convicted of both murders – they cannot be named due to their ages. 

They are due to be sentenced on February 23. 

“They say only God can give life and only God can take it away, but the five boys named within this case savagely took my boy. His precious life was not theirs to take,” Emma said. 

Emma described the constant struggle of both living without Charlie and constantly re-living what happened to him. 

“On the nights I do get some sleep I wake up hoping it had a been a nightmare but then realisation kicks in and I have to start another day without my son,” Emma said. 

She said that as well as her friends and family, the thing that has kept her going has been determination to get justice for Charlie. 

“Charlie's legacy will live on in us who live for him, to get knives off our streets so no other mother has to go through what I have."