A 17-year-old boy who stabbed 14-year-old Jermaine Cools to death in Croydon has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 19 years. 

Marques Walker, who was 16 at the time of the offence, stabbed Jermaine to death after a group fight outside a chicken shop on London Road, Croydon at around 6.40pm on November 18, 2021.  

While the fight was going on Walker pulled out a knife which had been concealed in his jacket and ran towards Jermaine, who was on the floor defenceless, and repeatedly stabbed him.  

Jermaine rolled across the ground frantically trying to avoid the knife but was stabbed seven times including a fatal wound to his chest which pierced a lung.  

“He was unarmed, he was on the floor and he was completely vulnerable,” Prosecutor Caroline Carberry told the court.  

Walker then ran off through the streets of Croydon still carrying the knife.  

A member of public helped Jermaine into a car and drove him to Croydon University Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 7.50pm. 

Jermaine's mum, Lorraine Dudek, said: "The morning of November 18 was a normal one. Jermaine and I were both home where we relaxed together, laughed together as we did. I never imagined that was the last morning I would share with Jermaine, or the last normal morning we would ever have." 

Lorraine added that the next time she saw Jermaine after that was a week later when he was lying in a hospital mortuary. 

"I will never forgive the defendant for taking my baby away from me, and robbing me of the opportunity to see him turn from a boy to a man."  

Julius Cools, Jermaine's dad, said: “Jermaine was everything to us, a sunshine a bright light in the world, a humble child with a lot of dreams. 

"Most days I don’t want to go home, I now chose to stay at my workplace, because every day when I closed at 11pm I would have to pick up Lorraine, Jermaine and Kieran from their grandma’s house. Now I only pick up Lorraine and Kieran.”  

He added: "To the defendant, I hope you and your friends that killed my baby, have no rest in life. To all those who killed my baby, you have blood on your hands." 

Your Local Guardian: Jermaine Cools, 14, and his mum were inseperableJermaine Cools, 14, and his mum were inseperable (Image: Metropolitan Police)

In a joint statement, Julius and Lorraine said: “Jermaine could talk to anybody. He was our best friend and the one who always made our day even when we were down. He would come down and talk to us. When he was taken away it took the life from us all. 

"The night of November 18, 2021 was the first time we as a family returned home without Jermaine. Every day since that point we have ceased living and merely just existed. Our family home used to be filled with love, laughter and happiness. It is now just a sad and empty house filled with suffering.  

"Jermaine’s bedroom remains untouched and ready for him to come home just as he was supposed to on the night of 18th November 2021. This will never happen. Jermaine’s bedroom is now a place where we go and sit to be surrounded by his possessions and smell his scent and think about our happy memories of him. Memories is all we have left."  

Two and a half hours the attack Walker arrived back at his home on Jennifer Road in Bromley by taxi, the Old Bailey heard.  

In the early hours of the morning he told his mum he was going out to buy snacks. When he didn’t return she noticed some clothing was missing and checked his iPad for clues as to where he was.  

She found that he had searched “Croydon stabbing today” and on Snapchat one friend told him: “Now dash this phone fam, get a new phone, dash the phone and your clothing, the trainers, and the whole shebang.”  

A fugitive hunt lasted for nearly six weeks until on December 27 was finally arrested when officers went to an address in Upper Norwood about an unrelated matter and found Walker inside.  

He was hiding under a bed and then gave a false name. He was arrested for an unrelated matter but while on the way to the police station he admitted his real name.  

Walker was charged with the murder and remanded to HMP Feltham, where guards found rap lyrics in his cell which bragged about his attack on Jermaine.  

The lyrics said: “We had mummzy grieving. I left mandem spleeching. I had mandem looking at his wounds like s**t den I think I’m bleeding." 

Your Local Guardian: Marques Walker was eventually arrested when he was found hiding under a bed at a property in Upper NorwoodMarques Walker was eventually arrested when he was found hiding under a bed at a property in Upper Norwood (Image: Metropolitan Police)

While in HMP Feltham he also went on to commit another violent attack. 

On July 1 last year he was allowed to leave his cell for exercise in the yard. During that time he and three others surrounded a 21-year-old detainee who they believed to be a “snitch”.  

Walker lunged towards the detainee then when he was on the floor the group kicked him and stamped on him until he was unconscious.  

Walker was heard to say “finish him off” and “this is how you put mans to sleep” before being pulled away by prison officers.  

While being returned to his cell he shouted "we smoked him" and made gun signs with his hand, Ms Carberry told the court. 

While he was briefly conscious after the assault the victim told prison staff “don’t let me die, I have a daughter”. He required life-saving surgery for the brain injury inflicted during the assault. 

Walker pleaded guilty to murder and GBH before appearing for a sentencing hearing on Tuesday (May 9). 

The court heard he often carried knives and already had been previously convicted for possession of a 10 inch Rambo knife on school premises.  

Your Local Guardian: Walker was caught with this knife at schoolWalker was caught with this knife at school (Image: Metropolitan Police)

He had also been arrested for possessing knives on two other occasions and was on bail when he murdered Jermaine.  

He told officers that he always carries knives as without one he feels like he’s walking towards his death, the court heard. 

At his sentencing hearing the court was told the Walker was a victim of modern slavery. He ran away from home at a young age and was recruited into criminal county line gangs. 

The court heard that Walker had seen the murder of his father, cousin and friends during his life. 

Sentencing Walker, Judge Sarah Munro said: “This is yet another case of a senseless murder for reasons that no adult can fathom."

Judge Munro sentenced Walker to life in prison with a minimum term of 19 years before he is considered for release by a parole board.