A former police officer said: "We heard lots of shouting in the street and all of a sudden there were somewhere between 30 to 40 youths there. There was one large gang who seemed predominantly black, who came from the direction of Lewisham. The other gang came from the direction of Beckenham and seemed to be mixed. They were carrying pick-axe handles, metal scaffolding poles and other home-made weapons and swinging chains above their heads. They seemed to be big guys and they all pulled their hoodies up when they were around 50 yards away from each other".Ben and the lads he was with had, apparently, gone out to defend their 'turf' against the larger gang of black tresspassers who had come over from Lewisham looking for trouble.Witnesses described this gang making 'animalistic noises' during and after the fight.Ben’s last words were:"Please help me phone my mum".14 youths, all of them black, were arrested in connection with the investigation.
On 5 November 3009, The News Shopper reported thus:
"The case against Royston Thomas, aged 19, of Hazel Grove, Sydenham, has been discharged as there was no realistic prospect of conviction...This is Ben:
Four teenagers went on trial earlier this year accused of murdering Ben.
Andre Lawrence-Bennett, aged 18, of Brownhill Road, Catford, and 19-year-old Mitchell Elliott, of Howerd Way, Woolwich, were acquitted at the Old Bailey on July 7. Part way through the trial Olatunji Olulu, aged 18, of Firhill Road, Catford, was found not guilty of murder due to lack of evidence."