Youth, 15, appears in court over stabbing murder of 14-year-old

Last updated at 14:19 30 June 2007

Martin Dinnegan

A 15-year-old boy appeared in court today charged with the murder of another teenager who was knifed to death in a street brawl.

Martin Dinnegan, 14, died after being stabbed in Islington, north London, on Tuesday night.

Police said he and his friends had become involved in an argument with a group of up to 20 youths.

The boy, from Islington, was made the subject of a secure remand to Thames Youth Court next Friday when he appeared at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court, north London.

There was no application for bail.

Relatives of the defendant sat in the well of the court for the brief hearing, during which the charge was not put.

Two men have been arrested in connection with the murder, a 20-year-old in Islington yesterday and a man in his 20s who was held today.

They are being questioned in east London.

This week, Martin's parents called on Gordon Brown to halt Britain's rampant knife culture, which has claimed the lives of eight teenagers in London in six months.

Mother-of-six Lorraine Dinnegan, 39, said: "Martin was a lovely boy. He did not deserve this. It is horrendous. We are totally shattered that this has happened."

She added: "How easy is it for someone to stick a knife in someone and take their life like that? Why is it still happening?

"We are victims. How many more victims are there going to be? It has got out of control with young people.

"You always see these groups of teenage boys hanging around. It is very intimidating and it is frightening for parents.

"The police need to be out there more to deter them."

Lorraine and James Dinnegan

Mrs Dinnegan said she learned of Martin's murder when her eldest son received a call at their home in Holloway shortly after it happened.

She said: "One of Martin's friends phoned to say Martin had been stabbed and they didn't think he was breathing. Apparently they were looking at each other the wrong way.

"I've just been speaking to one of his friends - apparently, there were lots of boys fighting and he said he looked and Martin was lying on the ground."

Mrs Dinnegan said police initially told her it was a robbery and that his attackers were five black youths on bicycles. Police sources stressed, however, that detectives are keeping an open mind on the motive.

Inquiries had revealed that Martin was with a group of friends who became involved in an altercation with another group of about 15-20 youths following "a verbal exchange".

Martin was assaulted in a gang attack about two months ago in which another boy was stabbed.

His 42-year-old father said: "There are gangs roaming the streets all night."

Asked what Mr Brown could do to tackle the problem, Mr Dinnegan added: "What have the last prime ministers done about crime? The penalties have got to be harsher for people with knives. Politicians have got to do more."

Throughout the day, groups of teenage boys, some sobbing, visited the scene to lay flowers.

Angela Fitzgerald, 53, a friend of the Dinnegan family, said Martin had been with two 17-year-old boys shortly before he was attacked.

He left them to get chips from a shop and walk home a different way. "They weren't very happy about leaving him, so they went back," she said. "They saw a row going on and saw Martin fall to the ground. They tried to save him."

Danny Coyle, 43, deputy head of Martin's school, St Aloysius College, which is near the murder scene, said: "Martin was a lovely, lovely lad, an ordinary kid. He got on very well with the teachers and his mates and caused no bother at all."

Martin's murder was the seventh fatal stabbing of a teenager in London in the last six months. Earlier in the week an 18-year-old youth was fatally stabbed in the street in Ilford, East London.

The victim, from east London, died in hospital shortly after the attack by one or possibly two people. A 20-year-old man was arrested nearby. A murder inquiry has begun.

In another incident, a boy of 14 was stabbed in the shoulder when he tried to break up a brawl at a bus stop in Acton, West London, at 8.30am yesterday. His injuries are not life threatening. Two 12-year-olds were being questioned.

Sorry we are not currently accepting comments on this article.