A schoolgirl who admitted stabbing a teenage rival to death in a fight over a boy walked free from court today after being cleared of murder.
Chelsea Bennett, 19, knifed 17-year-old Sian Simpson with a 10-inch blade during a fight between the two rival girl gangs. But she claimed she acted in self-defence.
Yesterday the victim's family erupted in anger, swearing and screaming 'bitch' as Bennet sat shaking and sobbing in the dock upon being cleared of murder and manslaughter at the Old Bailey.
Outside court, furious relatives accused the judge of racism, even though race was not an issue in the fight between the black victim and Bennett, who is white.
After Miss Simpson's relatives stormed from court, the Recorder of London, Judge Peter Beaumont QC told jurors: 'Jurors don't chose the cases they try.
'You are given a case to try and you are asked to make important decisions about people you have never seen before.
'You are asked to do so responsibly and carefully and in my judgement you have done so.'
The court heard how a petty squabble between the girls over the 'attentions' of a teenage boy who had got two of their friends pregnant escalated into violence.
The row centred on Nathan Davidson, who fathered a three-month-old boy with Miss Simpson's cousin Chantelle Campbell, before beginning a relationship with Bennett's friend Danielle Cooke, who was heavily pregnant with his child.
The court heard that Mr Davidson had gone to Miss Campbell's flat to see his son when Miss Cooke, incensed that he was there, turned up accompanied by Bennett.
The girls traded threats and gestures from a balcony and tempers were 'riding high', said prosecutor Brian Altman.
The mothers of Mr Davidson and Miss Campbell attempted to calm the situation.
But when Sian and her cousin Chantelle, who had armed herself with a kitchen knife, went downstairs to confront the girls, several scuffles broke out.
Bennett stabbed her rival in the chest with a steak knife, which she grabbed from the floor after coming under attack from the Sian Campbell.
The A-level student, who dreamed of becoming an accountant, was left lying in a pool of blood surrounded by a crowd of young girls screaming and shouting at each other.
The knife blow pierced her lung and heart causing 'shock and massive internal bleeding' and Sian died in hospital less than 45 minutes later on June 16 last year.
Giving evidence Bennett said Sian, who was nicknamed 'Pitbull', had come at her with a knife first so she grabbed a blade to defend herself.
She told the jury: 'She had the knife and she kept coming. She jumped on my back and started punching my head.
'I saw the knife on the pavement. I picked it up. I thought she would be scared. I thought she would stop running towards me.
'Someone shouted she had been stabbed and I didn't even know.'
Bennett was injured in the neck and the arm and was also cut on the hand when she tried to grab the knife.
Police arrested her at the scene where she surrendered the weapon.
Despite Sian's death, the two rival groups of friends have continued their feud and a tribute website has been taken over by girls on both sides attacking each other.
Outside the Old Bailey, Sian's aunt Sharon Fairclough read a statement on behalf of the family.
She said: 'Our baby Sian Simpson was a good girl and a believer in what is right.
'She had the right to live, the right to life. It's time for parents, guardians and responsible adults to take back our role as disciplinarians.
'Now as bearers and carers of children we must install morals in the youth of today.
'Sian Simpson was a good, well-mannered, humble young woman who was all ready to begin her life as an accountant.
'She was a good girl, who was doing a good deed. She tried to stop the violence.
'We will make it our life's ambition to do all we can to rid the inner cities of this country of violence and murders.'