New images released in witness plea for Ben Morutare murder probe

Police investigating the murder of teenager Ben Morutare in the Black Country today released images of 12 people who could help their inquiries.

Witness-plea

Ben, aged 16, was fatally stabbed in the leg after a disturbance near the Smethwick Home Guard & Old Comrades Club in July.

The Walsall youngster had been attending an 18th birthday party at the now-demolished club. A teenager has been charged with murder but detectives now want to identify and speak to those pictured in these CCTV images.

They believe the people, pictured at the venue off Oldbury Road, could hold “vital information”. More than 30 officers are investigating the death of Ben, from Holden Crescent, Coalpool, in the early hours of July 28. He was found on grassland at around 12.45am and died from the stab wound to his leg at Birmingham Children’s Hospital soon after.

Murder victim Ben Morutare, aged 16
Murder victim Ben Morutare, aged 16

Detectives believe there were around 300 people at the club on the evening before trouble flared outside. There were at least three known disturbances in the area, during which two of Ben’s friends were also assaulted. It is believed there were more than 40 people near the scene where he was fatally injured.

Anyone who recognises themselves or someone in the images is asked to call police, quoting the number in the captions above.

Detective Chief Inspector Bob Hazel said: “We believe some of those in the CCTV stills could be vital witnesses who have crucial information which would assist our investigation. I would urge anyone who recognises themselves in these images or anyone who knows the identities of those pictured to get in touch with us as soon as possible.” He added: “It is a 16-year-old child who has lost his life and we are absolutely determined to bring those people responsible to justice.”

Ben’s family today issued a statement asking for help in bringing justice. They said: “We need justice for our Ben, he was a good and loving child. We ask for anyone who has any information to contact the police please.”

A 17-year-old from Birmingham has been charged with murder and and is to appear at Sandwell Magistrates Court on October 29.

Two other 17-year-olds, from the Ladywood area of Birmingham, are charged with violent disorder. One also faces a charge of perverting the course of justice. They appeared at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court where they were bailed. Anyone with information should call call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.