1st Jul, 2022

Three teenagers face life in prison for 'shocking' murder of Babacar Diagne, 15, stabbed nearly 20 times

THREE teenagers – all under 18 – face life in prison for the vicious murder of a 15-year-old Coventry schoolboy stabbed nearly 20 times in a city park.

Babacar Diagne was attacked on grassland off Petitor Crescent, Wood End, on the evening of February. 5

None of the three attackers – two of whom were aged just 15 and the other 17 – had ever seen or spoken to Babacar before.

At Leamington Crown Court yesterday (Monday December 14) all three, who cannot legally be named as they are children, were  found guilty of murder.

But the judge is considering an application to lift reporting restrictions that will allow us to name the killers – two of whom are now aged 16.

Lead investigator, Detective Chief Inspector Scott Griffiths, said: “There remains no clear motive for the savage killing other than Babacar was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“He was new to Coventry, finding his feet. He wanted to make friends and to fit in. He was in a part of the city where his face wasn’t known and a stray glance has quickly escalated to murder.

“It’s totally shocking. These three children murdered a stranger; there was no bad blood between them.

“When the three offenders ran at Babacar there were no words exchanged. Babacar pleaded for them to stop but they continued to attack him as he lay defenceless on the floor.

“My officers have worked tirelessly on the case; it was a significant CCTV challenge to plot the movements of the killers. And I would like to praise the courage of witnesses who came forward to support the enquiry.

“They can be rightly proud that they have helped us secure justice for Babacar’s family.”

Babacar met up with friends at 6.15pm in Riley Square but quickly became concerned by one of the 15-year-old attackers who was staring at the group and circling around on a bike.

The teenager collected his two friends from an address then all three cycled out to find Babacar.

Witnesses described a barbaric attack. They initially thought Babacar was being punched until seeing the 15-year-old ringleader holding a bloodied knife.

He threatened others with the knife before all three rode away leaving Babacar fatally injured.

The young teenage victim was found with 18 stab wounds, mostly to his torso and chest and he sadly died in the park.

Detectives spent hundreds of hours trawling through CCTV to plot the movement of the offenders before and after the murder.

It was dark and some of the footage was grainy. But they analysed video in great detail, even noting the number and position of bike reflectors, to show it was the same group across each of the clips.

And they seized CCTV footage showing the ringleader 24 hours before the murder riding a bike identical to the one used on the day of the attack.

Police found the 17-year-old went to his girlfriend’s home to change clothes following the stabbing and when arrested was found with injuries to his hands.

The other 15-year-old sent a WhatsApp message to his father pleading for help to flee the country. It read: “I need to go to Africa…ASAP…like tomorrow if I can.”

Officers arrested all three in the days after Babacar’s death and charged them with murder.

Detectives also arrested a girl over the killing. Police suspect she made comments to the 15-year-old that stirred up trouble and may have contributed to the attack – but there was not enough evidence to charge and she was released.

Following the convictions Coventry Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Mike O’Hara, praised everyone who helped with the investigation.

He said: “I really want to express my gratitude to witnesses who provided crucial evidence in the case. They did the right thing to help us send out a message that this senseless violence has to stop.

“The whole of Coventry was shocked by Babacar’s death. Any violent crime is shocking but when the victim is of school age it’s all the more appalling and saddening.

“It’s important the whole community stands together to address the issue of youth violence. It has to stop; too many young lives are being lost and others ruined.”

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