Gang boy `admitted Lawrence stabbing'

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A teenage boy yesterday described to an Old Bailey jury how the 15-year-old leader of a Triad-style gang confessed to stabbing headmaster Philip Lawrence moments after the fatal assault.

The witness - who cannot be named for legal reasons - described events leading up to the father-of-four's death and told how he was invited to join the gang on the day Mr Lawrence was murdered.

The boy told the court how he had met 11 other boys at Burger King in Euston station where they planned to descend on St George's Roman Catholic School in Maida Vale to beat up another boy. "One of the boys said it was going to be a laugh," the witness told the jury. He said he had met the defendant, who was the self-appointed leader of the gang, three or four times before. He didn't know the name of the gang "but other people called them Triads", he said.

He described how they rounded up more gang members and the defendant organised them into three groups. "We were to back up the other two groups," he said, "the first was going to fight, the second group was to help them and then if people came and jumped in, then my group were to go in".

The gang took a tube train to Maida Vale where they split up into their prearranged groups and marched on St. George's, with the defendant leading the way.

It was at this point that a fight broke out near the school gates, the witness said.

He told the jury how the gang then ran away from the school in disarray, regrouping in a nearby street. Moments later, the defendant joined them. "He said he'd made a mistake and that he'd stabbed a teacher," said the witness.

The defendant, now aged 16, denies murder and two further charges of conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm and wounding with intent. A co- defendant, also aged 15, denies the latter two charges.

The trial continues today.