Teenager is to stand trial for murder at Old Bailey next April

Prosecution provides court with first detailed account of events that led to brutal killing of 15-year-old schoolgirl

The teenager charged with the murder of Croydon schoolgirl Elianne Andam will stand trial at the Old Bailey in April next year.

The 17-year-old boy, who cannot be identified because he is under 18, appeared at the Central Criminal Court yesterday afternoon, where Judge Mark Lucraft KC set a plea hearing for December 19 and a provisional trial date of April 29, both to be held at the same court.

The defendant sat between court officers in the dock as members of Elianne’s family were seated in the well of the court during the hearing, which lasted around 30 minutes.

Elianne Andam, 15, was a pupil at Old Palace School where she was studying her GCSEs. A post mortem found that she died from multiple stab wounds.

She had been travelling with friends on their way to school when the fatal attack occurred just after 8.30am last Wednesday, September 27, on Wellesley Road, near the entrance to the Whitgift Centre.

The Old Bailey court heard yesterday that the youth had refused to hand over his ex-girlfriend’s possessions after she had returned his. Elianne Andam intervened, snatching her friend’s bag from the 17-year-old.

The court was told that the youth, wearing a mask and gloves, removed a large knife from his waistband and stabbed Elianne repeatedly.

As he fled the scene, others attempted to administer first aid, but Elianne could not be saved.

Murder victim: 15-year-old Elianne Andam

The police recovered what they say is the murder weapon later the same day in Addiscombe, while they made the arrest of the youth in New Addington just over an hour after the attack.

Alison Morgan KC, for the Crown, read a brief summary of the prosecution’s case to the court.

Elianne’s aunt, Marian, was forced to leave the court after becoming so upset at the description of her niece’s stabbing.

Ms Morgan told the court: “The defendant is charged with the murder of Elianne Andam and also possession of a bladed article.

“The facts relating to those alleged offences are that on September 27, in the morning, Elianne and two of her friends had arranged to meet before going to school.

“They would go on to meet with the defendant – a former boyfriend of one of the girls.

“The purpose was to facilitate the exchange of possession between the defendant and [his ex-girlfriend].

“The girls went to the Whitgift Centre car park. [The ex-girlfriend] brought a carrier bag containing [the defendant’s] possessions.

“The defendant arrived with a friend, wearing black gloves and a face mask – both of which caused concern to the girls.

“In light of the events that followed, it’s also clear that, in coming to the meeting, the defendant had armed himself with a large knife.

“[His ex-girlfriend] handed the bag to the defendant. The defendant didn’t return her possessions, as was anticipated, and began to walk off.

“Elianne took it upon herself to challenge the defendant, asking for [her friend’s] property back.

“Elianne then ran past the defendant, grabbing the Tesco carrier bag.

“Having taken it upon herself to do that, the prosecution allege that in response, the defendant turned in anger upon Elianne.

“He pursued her for a short distance, removing a knife from his waistband then stabbing her repeatedly, inflicting fatal injuries.

Judge: Mark Lucraft set the trial date for next April

“There were a number of witnesses – not least the two girls with Elianne, but also witnesses on the bus who saw what happened.”

Judge Lucraft, the Recorder of London, told the young defendant he was remanding him into youth custody until a plea and trial preparation hearing on December 19 – which the defendant can attend via video link. He set a provisional trial date for April 29 next year.

“This afternoon I have set out the timetable for your case, working towards a trial date in April next year,” the judge said.

Jaysen Seeboruth, representing the defendant, made no application for bail.

Judge Lucraft said the case would be heard most likely before Judge Richard Marks KC.

Read more: Boy, 17, is charged with murder of schoolgirl Elianne Andam
Listen to our podcast: 7 killings in 6 months: Croydon Insider on the lasting tragedies

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