A 16-YEAR-OLD boy died after rival gangs fought running battles in the street, the Old Bailey heard today (May 28).

Up to 60 youths carrying knives, sticks and other weapons may have been involved in the fight in Southend Road, Beckenham, on June 23, 2007.

The court was told Ben Hitchcock, of Blean Grove, Penge, was stabbed during the violence after he and other members of the Penge Boys gang tried to gatecrash a party in Copers Cope Road.

After police broke the party up, Ben clashed with members of the Blue Borough gang, from Lewisham, who had been at the event.

They were joined by more Lewisham gang members who arrived from Sydenham armed with weapons, the court heard.

Prosecutor Edward Brown said: "His murder was the direct result of what was a pitched battle between rival gangs."

The gang battle was “mayhem” with youths using anything they could as a weapon, including weights brought from the party, and wood ripped from fences.

One witness described a man, believed to be defendant Andre Lawrence-Bennett, leading the Lewisham gang and calling out to one boy: “You're dead.”

Lawrence-Bennett was also said by another witness to have taken a knife out and stabbed Ben three times.

Another defendant, Royston Thomas, is alleged to have attacked Ben with a baseball bat.

Ben, who witnesses say was surrounded, was heard pleading with his attackers, saying: “What have I done? Why are you doing this to me?”

He then let out a series of long screams before becoming pale, the court heard.

Mr Brown said: "As he lay dead or dying, it was as if it was something that was a success in some people's eyes. There were boasts about having been responsible for his death."

As people ran from the scene Lawrence-Bennett allegedly told a witness: “Duck out, I just killed the boy.”

And he allegedly gave another youth a blood-stained knife to hold, which was later found in a bin and is believed to be the murder weapon.

Ben died from a stab wound to the back which punctured his kidney and was he pronounced dead in Lewisham Hospital in the early hours of the following morning.

Following the stabbing, friends of Ben's allegedly received calls from rival gang members, “laughing” that Ben had died.

One call, referring to the fact that Ben was the only white person involved in the fight, allegedly said: “We stabbed up your white boy.”

The court was told that four knives were found near the scene, along with pieces of wood, a broken bottle and other items.

Thomas, aged 19, of Hazel Grove, Sydenham, Mitchell Elliott, aged 19, of Howerd Way, Woolwich, Lawrence-Bennett, aged 18, of Brownhill Road, Catford, and Olatunji Olulu, aged 18, of Firhill Road, Catford, deny murder.

The trial continues.