THREE teenagers accused of killing Coventry youngster Babacar Diagne by allegedly stabbing him to death have appeared before a judge at Warwick Crown Court.
The two 15-year-olds, who were charged first, and a 17-year-old who was charged two days later, have all be charged with the murder of 15-year-old Babacar on February 5.
The three sat in a row for the hearing which took place via a video link with YOI Werrington in Staffordshire where they are being held on remand.
All three are from Coventry, but Judge Andrew Lockhart QC ordered that they cannot be identified because of their ages.
The murder charge follows the finding of Babacar’s body on a grassed area off Pettitor Crescent, Wood End, on the evening of February 5.
He was pronounced dead at the scene, and a subsequent post mortem is said to have established that he had suffered multiple knife wounds.
Prosecutor Lee Marklew said the three youths are facing a joint allegation of murder, and a trial date of September 1 had been identified.
Judge Lockhart observed that the custody time limit, the period during which a defendant can be held in custody before standing trial, unless it is extended by a judge, expires in mid-August.
But he pointed out there would be no High Court judge sitting at any court in the Midlands who could hear the trial within the custody time limit – but that he could hear it beginning on September 1.
And he commented: “I understand that other people may be charged in this matter as well.
“If they are and there is a need for them to be tried together… those others must be ready to be tried on the 1st of September.”
Judge Lockhart said the question of bail had to be considered – but was told there were no applications for any of the three defendants to be granted bail.
Adjourning the case for a plea and trial preparation hearing to take place in April, he told the teenagers: “We are making orders for your trial, and we are trying to get your trial into a state where it can be ready, so you can be fairly tried.
“It is not going to be easy, and it is not going to be quick to get that done. We think your trial will start on the 1st of September. It may seem a long time away, but it will go very quickly.”
Judge Lockhart told them the next hearing, for which they will be brought to the court rather than appearing over a link, will be on April 8 ‘when you will be asked to plead guilty or not guilty.’
He directed that Babacar’s family, who he was told were not at court, should be informed of the dates of the hearings.