Trio of teenagers appear in court and two charged with murder are remanded awaiting trial
THREE teenagers from Swadlincote have appeared in court in connection with the alleged killing of a 17-year-old boy in the town.
The trio, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared via a video link into Derby Crown Court, with the actual proceedings taking place at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court.
They were all this week charged following the death of Benjamin Orton, a former pupil at The Pingle Academy in Swadlincote.
The teenager died on Saturday, after an alleged assault in an alleyway at the side of the Odeon cinema, in Coppice Side, at The Pipeworks retail park in the town just before 10.40pm.
Two of the boys, one aged 16 and the other 17, appeared from youth custody for the short hearing.
They have been charged with the murder of Mr Orton and the attempted murder of a 20-year-old man.
The 16-year-old also faces a charge of possession of an offensive weapon.
A third teenager, also 17, had been granted bail and appeared via link from his home, having been charged with assisting an offender and perverting the course of justice.
All are from Swadlincote and they did not enter any pleas to the charges. A trial date has yet to be set.
Prosecutor Peter Joyce said the two accused of the more serious charges have limits to the time they can spend in custody, which run out in mid-december, reports Derbyshire Live.
He said: “Those custody time limits are governed by their ages and the reason I mention them is that the trial should take place before then given the ages of the defendants.
“Having read all I have been given (I think) the court should allow four weeks for the trial and a date should be set for perhaps the third week of November (for it to begin).”
Judge Nirmal Shant QC, Honorary Recorder of Derby, agreed but said the soonest available date she has currently been given is January 2022 so she set a further hearing for June 30 for that to be improved upon.
A number of interested parties, including family members, solicitors,
youth offending and the probation service also linked in remotely for the short hearing.
Judge Shant remanded two of the defendants into custody and handed the third bail.
Meanwhile, tributes have been paid to Benjamin from his school, Pingle Academy.
Benjamin was known among staff and pupils at the Coronation Street road school for his “good sense of humour”.
His former principal, Vivien Sharples, said: “We are aware of the tragic news that a 17-year-old lost his life on Saturday evening in Swadlincote.
“This is a devastating situation and our thoughts are with the family. Clearly this will have an impact on the whole community.
“We have told students that if they have been affected by the incident and would like support, to tell any member of staff they feel able to talk to and we will organise help.
“The police have been appealing for information and any students who may have any information they need to share are encouraged to speak to any member of staff at any time, and we will ensure they will be supported to make a statement.
“This is an upsetting situation but we will do everything we can to support the students.
“Benjamin was a popular student at The Pingle Academy until he left in 2020 at the end of Year 11. He enjoyed football and music. He was jovial and had a good sense of humour.
“Staff at Pingle supported him to do his best in his GCSES and he had a progression route to college once he had completed his five years of education at Pingle.
“Staff, students and the wider community are devastated by the terrible news.”
Following the alleged attack, a 20-year-old man was also found with serious, potentially lifechanging, injuries.
He was taken to hospital, where he remains in a stable condition, a spokesman for the police has said.
Derbyshire police are appealing to the public to come forward with any information, dashcam or CCTV footage from the area that could help them with their enquiries.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Derbyshire Police on Facebook, Twitter, or by calling 101 quoting incident 1397-120621.
Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.