A violent offender involved in a disturbance that led to a man’s murder in Maidstone has been jailed for a year and nine months.

Channing Hart is the twelfth man to be sentenced for his role in a brawl that resulted in the death of 21-year-old Andre Bent.

Andre was fatally stabbed by Vasilios Ofogeli when fighting broke out following a music performance in Bank Street in the early hours of Sunday 25 August 2019.

Hart, 31, from Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, was among those involved in the violence and was captured on CCTV chasing people with a glass bottle, kicking a man whilst he lay on the ground, and punching and swinging his belt towards others.

Hart-desktop
Channing Hart

Moments after delivering the fatal blow to Andre, Ofogeli and three other offenders climbed into a Mercedes that was then driven away by Hart and back towards the London area.

Fled to Greece

Ofogeli, who was 17 at the time, fled to Greece but returned to the UK days later and was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in prison after being convicted of murder following a trial.

Hart also attempted to evade justice by catching a flight to Bangkok, Thailand, and remained on the run until Wednesday 18 August 2021 when he travelled back to the UK and was arrested upon his arrival at Heathrow Airport.

He was later charged with violent disorder and pleaded guilty prior to being sentenced on Thursday 10 February 2022. He was found not guilty of assisting an offender following a trial.

Tragic

Senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Patrick Milford of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: ‘It is now two-and-a-half years since Channing Hart, Vasilios Ofogeli and others travelled to Maidstone and brought a level of violence with them that ultimately resulted in a young man’s tragic death. But no matter how much time has passed, the events of that night will never be forgotten by Andre Bent’s family and friends or those innocent members of the public who were caught up in the disturbance.

‘Hart has proven himself to be a cowardly individual who kicks people when they are down, uses bottles and belts as weapons and who runs away to another country instead of facing up to the consequences of his actions.

‘I hope this result sends a clear message to others that we at Kent Police simply do not tolerate such appalling acts of violence in our county, and that we are relentless in our pursuit of those responsible until they are arrested and brought before the courts.’

Detective Superintendent Patrick Milford

By Ed

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