A teenager who hacked a 14-year-old schoolboy to death with a machete has been jailed for at least 19 years.
Marques Walker, 17, was handed a life term at the Old Bailey for the ‘merciless’ killing of Jermaine Cools in Croydon, south London, on November 18, 2021.
It is the first time a child murderer has been sentenced live on television and comes after the judge lifted reporting restrictions which had prevented him being identified until he turned 18.
Judge Sarah Munro KC said the ‘increasing prevalence of knife crime’, the ‘need for deterrence’, and public confidence ‘that the criminal justice system is addressing the problem’ all outweighed any impact on Walker’s welfare.
She said: ‘This is yet another case involving the senseless murder of a young teenager committed for no reason that any mature adult could fathom.’
Jermaine was the 27th victim of knife crime in 2021 and the youngest to die on the streets of London that year.
The court heard Walker and a friend were out that evening armed with knives and intent on using them.
They got into an argument with another group, comprising Jermaine and two older boys, outside a chicken shop near West Croydon railway station.
Sentencing Walker, Judge Munro said: ‘Jermaine would have had absolutely no idea that you and your friends were armed with lethal weapons and nor that you were out on that street with the intention of using them.
‘During the tussle, Jermaine stumbled to the floor and having briefly got to his feet, possibly because he was pushed by one of your group, he fell again.
‘From that moment he was trapped on the ground, utterly defenceless, and you chose him as your target.
‘You drew your knife, ran towards Jermaine and stabbed him mercilessly no less than seven times in his chest, abdomen and shoulder as he tried hopelessly to avoid the blows by rolling around on the pavement.
‘He didn’t stand a chance. He must have been terrified and in agony.
‘You intended to kill Jermaine and you achieved your desire.’
Prosecutor Caroline Carberry KC said Jermaine’s injuries were ‘unsurvivable’. He suffered seven stab wounds, including one which pierced his lung, and died later at hospital.
It emerged Walker was on bail at the time for carrying a zombie knife.
Walker fled the scene while a passer-by helped Jermaine, who was bleeding heavily, into a car and drove him to Croydon hospital, where he later died.
Despite detectives quickly identifying him from the CCTV, it took nearly six weeks to track him down.
Walker pleaded guilty to murder on the eve of his trial. He also admitted GBH after attacking a fellow inmate at Feltham.
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First appear at Child murderer, 17, sentenced on TV to life in prison in legal first