Teenager cleared of Colchester town centre murder
- Credit: Archant
A teenager has been found not guilty of murdering a man who tried to rob him.
A 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, became involved in a fight with Carl Hopkins and another man in Colchester town centre on Sunday, February 10.
The second man, aged 41, was found in George Street at about 9.50pm that evening. He was taken to the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge where he had life-saving surgery for three stab wounds.
Mr Hopkins, 49, was found dead in Ryegate Road the next morning. He had been stabbed twice.
During a police investigation, it was discovered that victims had arranged with others to set up a drug deal with the intention of robbing a dealer.
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The teenager, from Woolwich, south-east London, was arrested on Friday, February 15 and later charged with murder, causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) and possession of an offensive weapon.
He admitted the weapon offence but denied murder and GBH.
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He stood trial at Chelmsford Crown Court on Monday, July 15 and was found not guilty of murder and GBH today.
The 17-year-old was sentenced to four months in a young offender institution, but was released due to time served on remand.
Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Jennings, senior investigating officer, said: "We carried out a thorough investigation and the jury has reached its verdict after considering all the evidence we have presented to them.
"Regardless of the circumstances as to why the defendant was there at the time of the fight, he has admitted possessing an offensive weapon and told the court he acted in self-defence.
"This case highlights how there are no winners - only losers - when it comes to knife crime and drugs.
"There is always a price to pay and I'd ask anyone involved 'do you think it's a price worth paying?'
"As a community, we need to work together to tackle these issues to prevent people becoming involved in violent crime or lifestyles that put them at risk of becoming involved in such crime."
DCI Jennings added that prevention, enforcement and education work to tackle crime and safeguard vulnerable people is carried out every day.