A 16 year old boy was cleared today (Thursday) of murdering Watford teenager Koy Bentley last June at a flat in the town that was being used to sell heroin and crack cocaine from.
The jury took just 20 minutes to bring in the not guilty verdict at St Albans crown court.
Sitting in the public gallery were friends and family of 15 year old Koy, who listened in silence as the not guilty verdict was announced.
Earlier the accused teenager, who himself had been 15 at the time of the killing, claimed he was not responsible for the stabbing and said a 21 year old man present in the flat in Water Lane that day had carried out the crime.
But during the trial the man, who is now 22 years old, told the jury it was the teenager who had stabbed Koy.
After the verdict today the 16 year old from North West London, who can’t be named for legal reasons, remained in custody as he is to be sentenced after pleading guilty at the start of the trial to conspiring with the older man and with Koy to supplying Class A drugs.
The judge ordered that a pre-sentence report be prepared before he sentences the youth, which will take place on May 29.
The 22 year old man is also to be sentenced at a later date after pleading guilty to the same conspiracy charge along with a second charge of perverting the course of justice.
Koy Bentley was stabbed twice in the chest while in the living room area of the flat at Rainbow House in Water Lane on the afternoon of June 5 last year.
In a bedroom at the flat smoking heroin and crack cocaine were two women who had just exchanged stolen bottles of aftershave for drugs.
The defendant and the older man, who is also from London and who can’t be named at present, were in the living room area with Koy.
The fatal knife wound passed through Koy’s ribs, into the chest cavity, through the lower left lung and into his heart, a jury was told.
The prosecution’s case throughout the trial was that the accused, the older man and the dead boy were all involved in supplying class A drugs from the flat.
William Harbage QC for the crown said it was the defendant who had murdered Koy.
He said “The two knew each other and maybe were even friends, but the evidence suggests a disagreement suddenly arose between them and the accused stabbed Koy Bentley not once, but twice in his chest”
Mr Harbage went on: “The background to all this is drugs.”
The jury heard that after the stabbing the accused and the older man ran from the flat.
The man was called as a prosecution witness and told the jury how he, Koy and the accused had all been together in the living room area of the flat that afternoon.
He said he was suddenly aware that the defendant had moved from a sofa he had been sitting on to where Koy was sitting in a swivel chair.
The man then told the jury that the boy had hold of Koy by his neck with one hand.
Koy, he said, was telling the accused to stop and he went on “I told them to stop messing about. I said you are like kids, something like that, I don’t remember.”
He said he returned to what he was doing but then heard a “movement” and looked up again.
“I heard a movement, like a swivel chair movement. I heard a thud. I thought it was a punch. I heard Koy say ‘Are you done’ twice.”
He said he heard Koy say “sorry” and he said he was still holding his phone.
Asked about the accused, he said “He had a knife in his right hand. It was a stainless steel knife. It had blood on it…on the tip of the blade. His arms were by his side.”
The man said Koy stood up from the chair and pulled his jumper up.
“I could see blood pouring out from under his left armpit,” he said.
He told the jury he thought Koy at first assumed he had been punched and as they were staring at the blood he began to lose consciousness.
The man said he and the accused left the flat moments later and he said he saw thr teenager dispose of the knife under a bush in an alleyway nearby.
But giving evidence the defendant told the jury Koy had been stabbed by the older man.
He said Koy had been sitting on the swivel chair when the man suddenly asked him “What happened to that pack I gave you?”
The defendant said Koy told the man he had lost it
The older man, he said, then asked the 15 year old “What do you mean you have lost a pack.”
Continuing his evidence he said he didn’t think it looked serious, but he said the older man began saying to the boy “Why are you not speaking?”
He said he couldn’t see Koy because the older man was standing in front of him.
He told the jury “That’s when he (the older man) stepped back to where he was sitting and grabbed the white knife.”
The defendant said he thought the man was going to threaten Koy with it to make him speak and again he said to the youngster “Why are you not talking?”
As he said it, the man was pointing the blade at Koy, he said.
“I didn’t think nothing of it – I thought it was a bit intimidating. That’s when he stabbed him. Koy wasn’t speaking – I think he was in shock. It was twice, but it was quick. It wasn’t hard, hard force, but there was force with it.
“I froze, I literally froze.”
He said the man then turned to him and said “Grab your s… bro.”
The teenager said Koy then stood up and unzipped his top and blood was “pouring out” of the wounds.
He said he put an Adidas top that belonged to Koy to the side where he had been stabbed and applied pressure to the wounds.
Moments later, after grabbing his phone charger and cigarette box, he and the man left the flat.
In an alleyway nearby he said the man put the knife under a bush.