Girl arrested as 12 face court over Victoria station murder

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The Independent Online

A teenage girl was arrested today in connection with the fatal stabbing of a 15-year-old at a busy Underground station as 12 youths appeared in court charged with his murder.

Metropolitan Police investigators held the girl suspect and three more teenage boys during a series of raids in south London.

Witnesses said several young girls looked on as Sofyen Belamouadden was chased into the busy Tube station and hacked to death with knives.

The move brings the total number of people arrested over the attack at Victoria during last Thursday's rush-hour to 24.

Earlier today 12 teenagers, four aged 16 and eight aged 17, appeared in custody before West London Youth Court charged with murdering the aspiring footballer from Acton, west London.

The male youths, all from south-west and south-east London, spoke only to confirm their names and addresses during the short hearing.

Apart from one 16-year-old, who was visibly distressed during proceedings, the teenagers showed no emotion as they were watched by family members seated in the public gallery.

The small size of the courtroom meant the teenagers were seen by District Judge Andrew Sweet in small groups.

Sofyen suffered multiple stab wounds to his chest when he was set on by a mob of teenagers at Victoria Tube station.

The attack began on steps leading into the station in Terminus Place and ended in a booking hall for the Circle and District Tube lines.

It took place at about 5.20pm as the evening rush hour of train, Tube and bus commuters got into full swing.

Sofyen, a pupil at the Henry Compton School in Fulham, west London, was taken to a central London hospital but was pronounced dead at 6.15pm.

The teenager played football for Acton Garden Village Youth Sunday League team in west London and for Chelsea Kicks, a scheme run by the Premier League club for young people in deprived areas.

A spokesman for the club described him as a "talented footballer" and a "valued participant" on the scheme.

District Judge Sweet adjourned the case to London's Old Bailey on Wednesday for bail applications to be made.

A 16-year-old defendant will not appear at the Old Bailey as an application will not be made for bail, his solicitor indicated.

The 12 will then reappear before West London Youth Court on April 6 before a further committal hearing on April 27.

The youths, who cannot be identified because of their age, were remanded in custody.

Two 15-year-olds, four 16-year-olds and a 17-year-old have been released on bail and a man in his thirties will face no further action.