Boy, 14, faces court over Leroy James murder

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The Independent Online

A 14-year-old accused of stabbing fellow schoolboy Leroy James to death appeared in court yesterday.

Flanked by two security guards, the accused teenager smiled at the public gallery as he was lead into the dock. His mother sat straight with her hands folded neatly in her lap, her eyes red with tears, as she heard the allegations of murder against her son.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is alleged to have killed Leroy, also 14, in Enfield, north London. Wearing a black hoodie, he spoke only to confirm his name and that he understood the charges at the 15-minute hearing at Enfield Magistrates Court.

The court heard how both boys were among a "large group" of young people that had congregated on a basketball court in Ponders End Recreational Park, Enfield, last Wednesday afternoon.

"Leroy had gone to the park with a group of friends and it seems that whilst he was there a fight broke out," said Alexandra Papageorgiou, prosecuting.

"There was a verbal confrontation that escalated into a fight. At this point [the defendant] is alleged to have stabbed him in the chest."

She asked magistrates to remand the defendant until his bail application is made tomorrow.

His solicitor, James Holland, said he "strenuously" denied the allegations. "It is just as plausible that any member of the large group could easily have committed the offence," he added.

The boy was not asked to enter a plea and was remanded in custody on the charges of murder and possessing an offensive weapon.

He will next appear at the Old Bailey later this month.