THE teenager accused of killing a motorbike pillion passenger has been acquitted after the judge concluded there was no case for the defence to answer.

Tommy Warde, aged 17, was struck while riding a motorbike as a pillion passenger in Star Lane, St Mary Cray, on August 9 last year.

He died in hospital two days later.

John Vincent, aged 19, of Sandpiper Way, Orpington, was charged with murder.

The prosecution case hinged on the evidence and eye-witness account of the rider of the bike, Jake Knox.

However, Judge Richard Marks QC told jurors that in the time that Mr Knox had to see the assailants, he would only have been able to secure a "fleeting glance".

He added this was supported by the pathologist's evidence which stated that to cause an injury such as the victim's, the wood must have been thrust into Mr Warde's head, and not thrown as Mr Knox's evidence suggested.

Judge Marks also drew attention to the fact that in three separate interviews with the police, Mr Knox failed to identify John Vincent and incorrectly described the colour of the wood.

Directing jurors to return a verdict of not guilty Judge Marks said: "These are very sufficient deficiencies in Jake Knox's evidence.

"It would not be safe or fair to allow the matter to proceed any further."