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Man receives life sentence for murder of teenager in Radstock

Custody image of Joshua Delbono in a grey T-shirt
Joshua Delbono

A man has been convicted of murder after a teenager was stabbed and died in Radstock last summer.

Joshua Delbono, 19, was found unanimously guilty today (Tuesday 11 April) by a jury at Bristol Crown Court of killing 16-year-old Charley Bates in July last year.

He was handed a life sentence and must serve a minimum of 21 years in prison.

Charley was fatally wounded by Delbono in a public car park, off The Street, in the centre of Radstock on Sunday 31 July.

The court was told two cars arrived in the car park – one of which Delbono was in – at about 6.40pm. Charley is said to have approached the other car and a confrontation has occurred involving him and the people who were in that vehicle. Delbono saw what was happening and after getting out the car he was in, went up to the group and stabbed Charley multiple times with a knife he brought to the scene.

The incident lasted less than five minutes.

Emergency services were called, but sadly paramedics could not save Charley’s life. He was pronounced deceased at 7.15pm.

A pathologist told the court Charley sustained a stab wound to his chest, plus a wound to his arm which was consistent with him trying to defend himself.

Delbono quickly left the scene after stabbing Charley and travelled about half an hour away to Shearwater Lake where he burned clothes he had been wearing. This was captured on a mobile phone, police later discovered.

At about 12.45am the following morning, approximately six hours after Charley had been stabbed, police received a phone call from Delbono’s mother in which she told police her son ‘had killed someone’ and she was keeping him at the address. She told the call-handler she felt ‘sick’ by what had happened.

She then passed the phone to Delbono who admitted to stabbing Charley, claiming he was trying to protect others. Delbono, from Frome, went on to falsely claim he had thrown the knife away at the scene and it may have ended up under a car, however conceded during the trial he had thrown it into Shearwater Lake.

Officers arrested Delbono on suspicion of murder a short time later.

DCI Mark Almond said: “Our thoughts and sympathies remain with Charley’s family who have experienced unimaginable pain over the past nine months. They continue to grieve for Charley and we are offering them support through our specially-trained officers.

“Charley had his whole life ahead of him and it was cut short by Joshua Delbono. The vigil held in his memory in Radstock in the days after this senseless tragedy highlights how his death affected the community and how popular a person he was.

Charley Bates wearing a blue suit and smiling for a posed photograph
Charley Bates

“Such incidents are thankfully rare in Radstock, but the devastating consequences knife crime has on families and communities is clear for all to see and it is why we are committed to work with our partners to do all that we can to prevent more tragedies like this from happening.”

We’d like to remind all concerned that criminal proceedings relating to the events of Sunday 31 July last year are ongoing against other defendants and that they have a right to a fair trial.

It is extremely important there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.