Unsolved Murders

Tommie Warde

Age: 17

Sex: male

Date: 13 Aug 2011

Place: Star Lane, St Mary Cray, Orpington

Tommie Warde died after being hit in the head with a piece of wood whilst riding as a pillion passenger on an off-road bike in Star Lane, St Mary Cray.

A teenager was charged with his murder but his trial at the Old Bailey was later discontinued and the teenager was cleared after the judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence and that there was no case for the defence to answer. It was also heard that evidence given by the driver of the motorbike was contradictory and that it conflicted with the medical evidence which said that the piece of wood had penetrated too far for it to have simply been thrown. The judge said 'It would not be safe or fair to allow the matter to proceed any further'.

He had been on the back of an off-road bike which passed a group of youths at about 8pm who were said to have started throwing things at them on 9 August 2011. Tommie Warde was then said to have been hit by a shard of wood that penetrated his skull and pierced his brain.

The rider of the bike said that Tommie Warde just suddenly fell back off of the bike and landed in the road with a piece of wood sticking out of his head. The rider himself was not injured.

He was taken to hospital where an operation was carried out, however, he later died on 13 August 2011 without regaining consciousness when his life support machine was switched off.

The piece of wood had penetrated 22cm into his brain.

The teenager that was tried for his murder was said to have been seen by the rider of the bike throwing the piece of wood which was like a javelin or spear at the bike as it rode along down Star Lane. However, at his trial the teenager said that he had been at home at the time of the murder. Also, the medical evidence stated that the piece of wood had penetrated too far for it to have been just simply thrown and that it must have been thrust into his head and not thrown as the rider had said. At the trial, the case hinged on the evidence of Tommie Warde's friend who had been riding the bike and had given an eye witness account of what happened and what he had seen. However, it was heard that he would have only been able to get a fleeting glance of the group as he passed them. It was also noted that the rider of the bike had failed to identify the person that was charged with Tommie Warde's murder in three separate police interviews and that he had incorrectly described the colour of the wood.

It was said that at least 15 people had seen the incident, however, the police said that there had been a wall of silence.

Tommie Warde and his friend had earlier heard a group of motorbikes riding around in Star Lane and when they went to see they found a number of boys on bikes. They decided to buy one of the bikes off of one of the group for £150 and then took it back to one of Tommie Warde's friend’s home to do some repairs on it. They then went back to Star Lane, walking the bike along the pavement. However, they then saw a large group of people further down the lane who were drinking and hanging out and which made them feel uncomfortable and so they decided to get on the bike and ride past them even though they didn't have crash helmets. It was said that as they passed the group, some of them threw cans at them and then Tommie Warde fell off the bike backwards and suffered his head injury.

Tommie Warde had lived on Farm Road in Kidbrooke.

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