A MUM-OF-SEVEN turned in her own son to the police and he is now serving a life sentence – but said she would "do the same again".

Donna Delbono reported her 19-year-old son Joshua to the authorities after he knifed Charley Bates, 16, to death over a £20 debt.

Joshua stabbed his victim through the heart following a car park fistfight in Radstock, Somerset on July 31, 2022.

When Delbono returned home about six hours later, Donna decided to call 999.

During the call, Delbono's mother said: "My son's killed someone.

"It was at Radstock earlier. He's just come back and I've found out.

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"He's in my house now but I can't let him go anywhere."

The operator asked Donna if her son was aware of the ongoing call and she responded: "Yeah, he's here. I've told him I've got to do it."

She later passed the phone to her son, who said: "I don't know anything about him (the victim) at all.

"I went in to help my mate. I thought 'I'm not getting stabbed'."

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The 19-year-old was found guilty of murder despite denying it, after a two-week trial.

He was jailed for life on April 11 and told he must serve a minimum of 21 years.

The mum-of-seven spoke to The Mail on Sunday and said her decision was "the hardest choice any parent will ever have to make."

But she insisted she had been raised to understand the "difference between right and wrong" no matter the situation.

Ms Delbono, from Frome, Somerset, said: "Even though it was such a tough choice to make, I know I'd do the same again.

"I couldn't have lived with myself if I'd chosen instead not to call the police."

She also expressed her remorse and condolences to the Bates family.

Donna explained she learned about the horrific events from her daughter, Jade.

The young girl admitted to her mum that Delbono had confessed his crimes before going to bed.

"I ran straight into his bedroom and turned on the light. Josh was asleep and I was shaking him awake, but when he came to he admitted everything", Donna said.

The mum-of-seven claimed she told her son there "was only one thing he could do" – go to the police.

When he expressed his fear, she told him she would do it instead – to which "he just nodded".

"My son will have to live with this for the rest of his life", she added.


During the trial, prosecutors told Bristol Crown Court that Charley had a previous issue with one of Delbono's mates, believed to be over money, and they began scrapping.

As others got involved, Delbono took a knife – which he claimed was left in his car by its previous owner – and stabbed Charley through the heart.

Delbono and his group left the scene after less than five minutes.

Charley was tragically pronounced dead a short while later.

Prosecuting, Adam Vaitilingam KC, told the court: "It started as a one on one fist fight but eventually it escalated. The passenger got out and so did one or two of Charley's friends.

"However, at that stage, the defendant was not involved and was sitting in his car.

"But at some point in the fight, the defendant got out of the second car, had a knife, walked over to where the fight was happening and stabbed Charley several times, including in the chest."

In his statement, Delbono claimed he did not intend to kill anyone, and said: "More people become involved. I was shocked and did not know what to do."

He stated his friend was being punched and stamped on when he saw the "black handle of a knife in a waistband."

"I thought he was going to use it to stab my friend. He put his hand on the handle like he was going to draw it", added Delbono.

The he said he "instinctively" grabbed the knife and went towards them.

"My intention was to stop him stabbing my friend. At the last second he moved out the way", he continued.

Delbono said Charley took a swing at him and "in the melee" was stabbed.

He added: "Everyone panicked and left the scene – it was a chance encounter that escalated in a way I could never imagined. I am truly devastated."

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He was jailed for life on April 11 and told he must serve a minimum of 21 years.

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