Three teenagers have been jailed for life over the murder of schoolboy Babacar Diagne.
The three teens, two aged 16 and one aged 17, were sentenced today (December 17) at Warwick Crown Court following their convictions earlier this week.
Babacar, aged just 15, was stabbed multiple times and left for dead by the trio in Wood End earlier this year.
An application to name the three, who are protected by a court order, was rejected by a judge. It means they cannot be identified for legal reasons.
The court heard during the trial how killers ganged up on Babacar, who they’d never met or even spoken to before, on grassland off Petitor Crescent, Wood End, on the evening of February 5.
The motive for the attack remains a mystery, but Babacar was stabbed 20 times and was left to die of his injuries.
One of the killers, aged just 15 at the time, instigated the killing and was considered the ringleader.
West Midlands Police said the killer spotted Babacar, an unfamiliar face in the area, with friends in Riley Square and traded glances as he circled menacingly on his bike.
As Babacar cycled off with friends the killer rounded up the two co-defendants, who were 15 and 17 at the time, and went looking for Babacar and his friends armed with at least two knives.
Witnesses to the attack thought Babacar was being punched until seeing one of the attackers holding a knife covered in blood.
It is thought he threatened the other teenagers there before riding away.
Police officers spent hours trawling through CCTV footage in an attempt to plot the movements of the offenders before and after the murder.
It was dark and some of the footage was grainy. But the police said they analysed video in great detail, even noting the number and position of their bike reflectors, to show it was the same group across each of the clips.
They also seized CCTV footage showing the ringleader 24 hours before the murder riding a bike identical to the one used on the day of the killing.
Officers found the 17-year-old killer went to his girlfriend’s home to change clothes following the stabbing and when he was arrested, was found with injuries to his hands.
One of the others sent a WhatsApp message to his father pleading for help to flee the country. It read: “I need to go to Africa…ASAP…like tomorrow if I can.”
All three were arrested in the days following the stabbing and charged with murder.
Detective Chief Inspector Scott Griffiths, who was leading the case, said: “There remains no clear motive for the killing. Babacar was simply an unfamiliar face in the community. It was a senseless attack that took a life and changed theirs forever.
“It’s totally shocking. These three children murdered a stranger; there was no bad blood between them.
“When the three offenders ran at Babacar there were no words exchanged. Babacar pleaded for them to stop but they continued to attack him as he lay defenceless on the floor.
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“My officers have worked tirelessly on the case; it was a significant CCTV challenge to plot the movements of the killers. And I would like to praise the courage of witnesses who came forward to support the enquiry.
“They can be rightly proud that they have helped us secure justice for Babacar’s family.”
Following the convictions, Coventry Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Mike O’Hara, praised everyone who helped the investigation.
He said: “I really want to express my gratitude to witnesses who provided crucial evidence in the case. They did the right thing to help us send out a message that this senseless violence has to stop.
“The whole of Coventry was shocked by Babacar’s death. Any violent crime is shocking but when the victim is of school age it’s all the more appalling and saddening.
“It’s important the whole community stands together to address the issue of youth violence. It has to stop; too many young lives are being lost and others ruined.”
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