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15-year-old facing years behind bars over Portobello Road murder

A 15-year-old youth is facing years behind bars for the murder of another boy who was stabbed to death in an ambush near London's world famous Portobello Road.

Fola Orebiyi, 16, was expecting a fist fight but ended up being knifed in the neck and back near the street market in Notting Hill, west London. He was pronounced dead an hour later.

Two boys, aged 15 and 17, denied Fola's murder on the evening of July 3 last year.

The younger boy, who wielded the fatal knife wound, was found guilty of murder following an Old Bailey trial.

His co-defendant, who was accused of egging him on, was acquitted after a jury deliberated for more than eight hours.

The older boy sobbed uncontrollably and had to be led from the dock by officers.

The victim's family quietly held hands and wept in court as the verdicts were delivered.

Sentencing was adjourned until February 10.

Prosecutor Tim Cray had said the events surrounding the murder centred on the area around Portobello Road, close to where the victim lived.

He said: "The cause of the trouble that led to the stabbing seems to have been trivial, compared to the harm that came from it."

In the weeks before, one of Fola's friends had a fight with the 15-year-old defendant and insults were hurled, he said.

Mr Cray said: "On the Sunday night, Fola and his friends ran into the defendants and their friends near the Portobello Road.

"Fola thought that the dispute was going to be sorted out by a fist fight and they all went to a location off the main roads."

But Fola did not know that the 15-year-old was armed with a knife which "took this incident up to a whole different league of trouble", Mr Cray said.

He told jurors: "It turned out that this wasn't so much a fight as an ambush where, within seconds, Fola was singled out and stabbed to death."

The younger defendant was accused of striking the fatal wound to Fola's neck.

He ran away and disposed of the knife as well as clothes he was wearing, jurors were told.

Following their arrests, the 17-year-old denied carrying out the stabbing and said the other youth had the knife.

The 15-year-old denied involvement.

Fola's mother, Yinka Bankole described her son as "a vibrant and intelligent young man, with a bright future ahead of him" who was looking forward to going to university to study maths and accounting.

She said: "In an act that took less than four minutes, several lives were ruined, including that of the boy that has been found guilty of Fola's murder. No length of time will be long enough for what he did.

"What are the Government doing about this knife crime that seems to have taken over the streets of London?

"To those young who stood and watched while Fola was stabbed, then ran away and left him to die, you might have gotten away with the law, but I want you to know that you have Fola's blood on your hands.

"You all know who you are, and what part you played in my son's death, and you will have to live with this upon you conscience.

"The newspapers and the media are more and more frequently featuring incidents involving violent knife crime, and only yesterday I am sad to read that a 15-year-old boy was stabbed to death in London.

"How many more of our children have to die before the Government act?"

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