Pupil 'killed after trivial dispute'

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The Independent Online
RACIAL hatred at a comprehensive school ended in the murder of an innocent teenager after a trivial playground dispute, an Old Bailey jury was told yesterday.

The victim, 15-year-old Arif Roberts, was 'the wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong time', according to Linda Stern, for the prosecution.

Racial friction between black and Vietnamese pupils at the Gladesmore School in Tottenham, north London, exploded into violence during a game of football on 20 September 1990, she told the court.

'There was an argument in the playground. It was a trivial dispute over a ball. A fight broke out between the blacks and the Vietnamese and the Vietnamese got the worst of it. They planned revenge and recruited other Vietnamese youths to come to the school and fight,' Mrs Stern said. The next day, a 16-year-old boy from Woolwich in south-east London arrived outside the school with other Vietnamese youngsters armed with knives. Arif, a black pupil, went out of the school gates on his lunch break and was set upon in Markfield Road.

'The tragedy of this case is that Arif had nothing to do with the argument. He was the wrong person, in the wrong place at the wrong time,' she said.

The Vietnamese boy rammed a knife into Arif's neck, severing his jugular vein. 'He died in a short time.'

The defendant, who cannot be named because of his age, was recognised by three girls from the school and was arrested. He denies murder.

The trial was adjourned until today.