A teenager has been found guilty of stabbing a 16-year-old to death after his own mother called the police to report the murder.
Joshua Delbono, 19, stabbed Charley Bates after a fistfight broke out between two groups of friends in a car park in Radstock, Somerset, shortly after 6.40pm on July 31 last year.
Several hours later, around 12:45 AM the next morning, Delbono’s mother called 999 and told an operator, “My son killed someone.”
Asked about the location of the incident, the mother said: ‘It was in Radstock before. He just got back and I found out. He’s in my house now, but I can’t let him go anywhere.’
She added, “He’s here. I told him I have to do it.’
Charley Bates (pictured) was stabbed to death after a fistfight broke out between two groups of friends in a car park in Radstock, Somerset
Delbono was sentenced today to life with a minimum term of 21 years at Bristol Crown Court.
The court heard two cars pull up to a parking lot, one of which was carrying Delbono, when Mr. Bates approached the car over a dispute with one of the defendant’s friends over money.
A fight then broke out, before friends of both persons got involved.
Delbono then took his knife and stabbed Mr. Bates through the chest. The victim also suffered a knife wound to his arm, consistent with an attempt to defend himself.
The incident lasted only five minutes and Delbono fled with his group.
Mr. Bates was pronounced dead 35 minutes later.
Delbono traveled half an hour to Shearwater Lake, where he was pictured on a friend’s phone burning his clothes in an attempt to cover his tracks.
But when he came home six hours after the stabbing, his mother called the police and told an operator that her son had killed someone.
Joshua Delbono (pictured) was sentenced to life with a minimum sentence of 21 years at Bristol Crown Court today
She then handed the phone to her son, who said, “I don’t know anything about him (the victim). I went in to help my mate. I thought, “I’m not going to get stabbed.”‘
Delbono of Frome, Somerset, accepted stabbing Mr Bates but pleaded not guilty to murder. He was unanimously found guilty today by a jury.
Judge William Hart delivered his verdict. What started as a normal fistfight ended with a “young boy with his whole life ahead of him” lying dead on the floor.
He told Delbono, “You took the knife out of the car intending to use it the way you did, not to warn people.”
The judge also warned of the dangers and tragedy of young people carrying knives.
He added, “Let me speak to anyone who hears my comments about the harm caused by carrying knives. You can take someone’s life. What happened that day cast a terrible shadow over everyone.’
Before sentencing, Charley’s family, including both of his parents, issued statements about the victim’s fallout, saying they were all still struggling to come to terms with his death.
His mother said, “My Charley boy was stolen from me in a senseless act of violence.”
She also said she couldn’t breathe with the grief over his death and thanked his friends for trying to save his life.
Delbono (wearing a white Nike top) photographed in a supermarket shortly before the fatal stabbing took place last July
Charley’s father added, “Hundreds of hearts were broken that day.”
Adam Vaitilingam KC, Prosecutor, previously told that the two-week trial that Mr Bates hung out with a group of seven friends in a public car park, off The Street, that afternoon.
He said, “Just after 6:30 p.m., two cars pulled into the parking lot together. In the first car were two young men and in the second car was Joshua Delbono with his girlfriend.
“It appears that Charley knew at least one of the two men in the first car. There had been a history of bad feelings between them. Charley went over to talk to them and the talking turned into a fight as the driver of the first car got out.
“It started out as a one-on-one fistfight, but eventually it escalated. The passenger got out and so did one or two of Charley’s friends
At the time, however, the defendant was not involved and was in his car.
“But at some point during the fight, the defendant got out of the second car, had a knife, walked over to the scene of the fight and stabbed Charley several times, including in the chest.”
The prosecutor said the defendant and his friends returned to the two cars and drove off – less than five minutes after they arrived.
Mr. Bates’ friends called 999, but doctors and paramedics were unable to save him and he was pronounced dead at 7:15 p.m.
Delbono and his mate drove to a lake half an hour away to get rid of the knife and burn some of his clothes.
Mr. Vaitilingam said, “His girlfriend thought it was a good idea to film this, and the police took pictures from her phone.”
After his arrest, Delbono declined to comment in the police interview, but later issued a prepared statement.
Mr Vaitilingam added: ‘He said he got out of his car to intervene in a fight between his friend and Charley and said he “instinctively brought the knife”.
“He said he saw one of Charley’s friends with a knife in his waistband and was afraid he would use it to stab his friend.”
A post-mortem examination revealed that Charley died of a stab wound to the front of his chest that caused massive bleeding, while a second knife injury to the back of his left forearm was described as a possible ‘defensive wound’.
The incident was not captured on CCTV, but footage of the movement of both groups before and after the stabbing was played back for the jury.
DCI Mark Almond said after the case: “Our thoughts and sympathies remain with the family of Charley, who has suffered unimaginable pain over the past nine months. They continue to mourn Charley and we are providing support through our specially trained officers.
Charley had his whole life ahead of him and it was cut short by Joshua Delbono. The vigil in his memory at Radstock in the days following this senseless tragedy shows how his death affected the community and how popular he was.
“Incidents like this are fortunately rare in Radstock, but the devastating impact knife crime has on families and communities is clear to all, and so we are committed to working with our partners to do everything we can to prevent more tragedies like this.” of happening.’