Two more Thamesmead gang members have been jailed for the murder of Charlie Bartolo and the ‘own goal’ killing of Kearne Solanke. 

On November 26, 2022, five teens who were involved in the T-Block gang were armed to the teeth with knives and machetes inside a stolen Nissan. 

They drove from Thamesmead to Abbey Wood seeking “the perverse kudos” of stabbing a local boy, as their gang had “beef” with Abbey Wood. 

Charlie, who was not involved in gangs, was out riding a brand-new motorbike which his mum had bought him. 

The gang deliberately knocked him off his bike with the car then stabbed him to death. 

But in a moment of “murderous stupidity” one of the killers accidentally knifed “one of their own team”, Kearne Solanke, meaning two 16-year-old lives were lost that night.   

Four teens were found guilty of both murders – Alagie Jobe, Hussain Bah, Jake Debonsu and a boy who cannot be named due to his age. 

News Shopper has challenged the reporting restriction preventing the publication of the fourth boy’s name. 

Judge Neil Garnham KC said he will make a ruling on Monday (February 26) as to whether the restriction will be lifted, but for now he cannot be identified. 

Jobe and Bah, both 19, were jailed for life with minimum terms of 25-and-a-half years and 25 years respectively at a previous hearing. 

On Friday (February 23) Debonsu, 18, and the fourth teen, who is 16, were given life sentences with minimum terms of 17 and 18 years respectively. 

As they were taken down to the cells Emma Bartolo, Charlie’s mum, shouted: “I hope you rot in hell."

News Shopper: Alagie Jobe and Hussain Bah, both 19, were given life sentences for Charlie Bartolo and Kearne Solanke's murders Alagie Jobe and Hussain Bah, both 19, were given life sentences for Charlie Bartolo and Kearne Solanke's murders (Image: Met Police)

‘Armed to the teeth with knives’  

On the evening of his murder 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.”      

There had been speculation locally that Charlie was targeted because he was part of a gang.    

Judge Garnham said there is absolutely no evidence that this was the case.   

The judge said Charlie did nothing to provoke the attack and was out enjoying an innocent night with friends.  

Judge Garnham said Charlie’s killers “wanted the perverse kudos of stabbing, or wetting, a boy from Abbey Wood in Abbey Wood”. 

Charlie and two friends were riding motorbikes on Sewell Road at around 5pm when he was deliberately rammed by the car which came towards him, throwing him over the handlebars and into the air.    

Kearne, Jobe and the 16-year-old got out of the passenger side where Charlie had fallen and used large almost sword-like knives to stab him as he lay defenceless on the pavement, prosecutor William Emyln Jones said.    

During the attack, which lasted less than a minute, Charlie was stabbed eight times including in the head, penetrating his brain.    

He was rushed to Queen Elizabeth Hospital after a member of the public called 999, but by 6.24pm he was dead. 

One of the attackers, 16-year-old Kearne Solanke, also ended up dead after one of his gang accidentally knifed him too.

“There’s no reason to think he meant to stab Kearne, but in the confusion and the chaos of the moment – no doubt I’m afraid, in the excitement – his knife found the wrong target,” Mr Jones said during the trial.  

Kearne was driven to Titmuss Avenue in Thamesmead where he was abandoned to die on the pavement. 

News Shopper: Kearne (pictured) was abandoned to die on Titmuss AvenueKearne (pictured) was abandoned to die on Titmuss Avenue (Image: Met Police)

‘All I can say is I hate you’ 

In her victim personal statement Charlie’s mum Emma said: “All I can say is I hate you. I hate the way you stole my son’s life from him and I hate what you have done to my family.  

“I will never forgive them. My only hope is that they receive a long sentence and in that time they reflect on what they’ve done.” 

Previously, Emma told the News Shopper: “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.”    

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.” 

Charlie’s dad, Tony, said: “Never in my worst dreams could I ever imagine that my son Charlie would be murdered all alone in the dark on a November evening.”  

“And for what reason?” he asked.  

“As a father I am haunted by how I was not there to save him, comfort him. Was he scared? Did he wish I was there?”  

Tony said: “None of us will know what brother and man Charlie could have become. What could Charlie have achieved? Would he have started a family?  

“Would he have travelled the world and had great adventures and stories to tell when he returned?  

“All me and my family have now are photos and memories.” 

News Shopper: Charlie BartoloCharlie Bartolo (Image: Supplied)

'Big dreams' 

At a previous hearing prosecutor Mr Jones read a victim impact statement from Kearne’s mum.  

She said: “Kearne had big dreams and aspirations for the future. He would have made each and every one of those dreams come true.”  

He had enrolled on an electrical installation course at college and dreamed of owning a business with his cousin.    

Describing that night, Kearne’s mum said she arrived at Titmuss Avenue to see her son lying on the ground.   

“I collapsed to the floor as they performed open heart surgery on Kearne,” she said.   

“I laid with Kearne on the floor for four hours with his blood running down my hands.”   

She described the smell of Kearne mixed in with blood in the cold wet air, with the sound of medical machines beeping.   

News Shopper: Titmuss Avenue, where Kearne died Titmuss Avenue, where Kearne died (Image: PA)

‘Utter devastation caused by knife crime’  

Charlie and Kearne were found a mile apart in Abbey Wood and Thamesmead.  

The Metropolitan Police said there was initially no obvious link between the two murders.  

But homicide detectives led by Detective Chief Inspector Kate Blackburn established the sequence of events.  

Detective Chief Inspector Kate Blackburn said: “My team of detectives worked relentlessly to identify the group’s movements across south east London on the day of the murders.  

“Even though some of the CCTV did not pick up their faces, my officers worked incredibly hard to identify them via their clothing including trousers and footwear. This was crucial in placing them together before and after the attack on Charlie.  

“I am glad that all four defendants have been found guilty. It was an unusual case in that the murder of Kearne Solanke, was obviously not what the group had set out to achieve.  

“However, we successfully proved that the group, in the course of their joint attack, intended to cause death or at least really serious injury and, one of their members was, sadly, an inadvertent victim of that.  

“This case demonstrates the utter devastation caused by knife crime and people who arm themselves with large knives, not only risk killing those they see as enemies, but also people they consider their friends.  

“My thoughts, and those of my team, remain with the families of both Charlie and Kearne.”