Unarmed schoolboy murdered with sword hidden in walking stick, court hears

Fares Maatou, 14, was allegedly set upon by two teenage boys following a confrontation in London


An unarmed schoolboy was murdered in broad daylight by two teenagers armed with a sword concealed within a walking stick, a trial has heard.

Victim Fares Maatou, 14, was allegedly set upon by two boys following a confrontation involving a larger group in Barking Road in Canning Town, east London, on the afternoon of Friday April 23 last year.

Fares “offered no threat at all” to the suspects, prosecutor Julian Evans QC told the Old Bailey, and tried to escape.

Fares suffered a single 4.3in (11cm) injury to the left side of his upper back, caused by the sword stolen from the second defendant’s grandfather, and passed to the first defendant, then 15, to use, the court heard.

The second defendant, then aged 14, beat Fares with the sheath, jurors were told, before both youths – who cannot be named because of their age – fled the scene.

The attack was caught on CCTV.

Mr Evans said Fares moved backwards when the older defendant brandished the sword.

Fares Maatou
Fares Maatou

He said: “Both of his (Fares’) hands were in front of him at waist height – Fares was not holding anything.

“He was completely unarmed.

“Fares offered no threat at all to (the first boy), armed with a sword and advancing towards him, nor did he offer any threat at all to (the second boy), who was now carrying the sheath and was also moving forward towards Fares.”

The older boy then lunged at Fares – the first of three such attempted blows with the sword – while the younger boy swung the sheath.

The prosecutor said: “Fares reacted by bringing both of his hands up towards his face and head to protect himself.

“As he, Fares, tried to escape, he turned his back on (the defendants) and he, Fares, moved away.

“Despite that action, (the defendants) continued to attack him.”

The older defendant lunged at Fares two further times, the court heard.

Fares tried to run away, but slipped, and the defendants continued to attack him, the jury as told.

The victim briefly managed to get to his feet once the attack stopped, the court heard, but he lost his footing again and fell against a parked car nearby.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The prosecutor said: “Fares … posed them no threat at all.

“He was unarmed.

“He displayed no aggression towards them.

“He did nothing to threaten them.”

Mr Evans said the weapon would “look like a walking stick” to passers-by.

Both defendants, now 16, deny murder, and say they were acting in self-defence.

The trial continues.