Violent offender who fled to Thailand jailed

headshot of young man from Potters Bar named Channing Hart

Channing Hart was among a group who chased people with a glass bottle, kicked a man whilst he lay on the ground, and punched and swung his belt towards others. - Credit: Kent Police

A violent offender from Potters Bar who was involved in a disturbance that led to a man’s murder in Maidstone, Kent, has been jailed for a year and nine months.

Channing Hart, 31, of Ashwood Road, is the 12th 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, Kent, in the early hours of Sunday, August 25, 2019.

Hart 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.

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.

Hart 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, February 10, 2022. He was found not guilty of assisting an offender following a trial.

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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."