Tragic CCTV footage captures the horrifying moment when 14-year-old Jermaine Cools was brutally stabbed to death by 17-year-old Marques Walker.
The harrowing incident occurred during a group altercation outside a chicken shop on London Road, Croydon, at approximately 6:40 pm on November 18, 2021.
As a result, Walker has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 19 years.
During the heated confrontation, Walker unexpectedly brandished a concealed knife from his jacket and swiftly approached Jermaine, who was defenseless and lying on the ground. With alarming ferocity, Walker repeatedly stabbed Jermaine as he desperately rolled across the pavement, desperately trying to evade the onslaught. Tragically, Jermaine suffered seven stab wounds, including a fatal chest wound that pierced one of his lungs.
“The victim was completely vulnerable, unarmed, and defenseless while on the ground,” stated Prosecutor Caroline Carberry during the court proceedings.
After the vicious attack, Walker fled through the streets of Croydon, still carrying the bloodied knife.
However, a compassionate member of the public aided Jermaine by assisting him into a car and promptly driving him to Croydon University Hospital. Despite the best efforts of medical professionals, Jermaine was pronounced dead at 7:50 pm.
Lorraine Dudek, Jermaine’s grieving mother, expressed her profound anguish, recounting the poignant memories she shared with her son. “The morning of November 18 started like any other. Jermaine and I were at home, cherishing each other’s company, laughing together as we often did. Little did I know it would be our final morning together, the last ordinary day we would ever have,” she lamented. Lorraine painfully recalled that her next encounter with Jermaine occurred a week later when she saw him lying lifeless in a hospital mortuary.
The heart-rending incident serves as a stark reminder of the devastating consequences of senseless violence, leaving a grieving mother to mourn the loss of her beloved son while seeking solace in cherished memories.
Senior investigating officer Superintendent Richard Vandenbergh, said: “Jermaine was only 14-years-old when he was stabbed to death, he was a child and we cannot ignore the fact that children are dying on the streets of London as a result of knife crime.
“Jermaine’s family have been left devastated, a child with his whole life ahead of him has had it brutally snatched away. Jermaine’s family have spoken out about knife crime and I hope that their courage in speaking out may stop another family losing a child to this evil crime.
“Walker was able to obtain knife after knife. Anyone seeing the pictures of those weapons police seized from him in the months leading up to the killing of Jermaine should be concerned that weapons like this seem so readily available to young men.”
The court heard that at 6:41pm on 18 November 2021, a member of the public reported a large fight outside a chicken shop in London Road, Croydon.
The victim, Jermaine Cools, was with a group of youths who were fighting in a shop doorway.
While the fight was going on Walker was caught on CCTV calmly walking towards the fight and drawing out a large knife.
Jermaine was now on the floor and Walker ran towards him.
Walker was seen to repeatedly lunge at Jermaine with the knife, while Jermaine rolled on the ground frantically trying to avoid being stabbed.
However, Jermaine received multiple stab wounds and the defendant ran off from the scene and was captured on CCTV running through the streets of Croydon still carrying the knife.
A member of the public approached Jermaine, who was bleeding heavily, and helped him into a car and drove him to Croydon Hospital.
Despite the best efforts of medical staff, Jermaine succumbed to his injuries and died at 19:50hrs.
A special post mortem took place at Croydon University Hospital on 20 November 2021.
Jermaine was found to have suffered seven stab wounds to his body – the fatal wound was one to his chest which had pierced a lung.
A murder investigation began immediately and the defendant was quickly identified from CCTV enquiries.
However, he had left his home and the day after the murder he was circulated as wanted.
He went to great lengths to avoid being detected and police had a proactive team conducting a fugitive hunt for nearly six weeks.
He was finally arrested when officers attended an address to conduct an arrest enquiry for another person and discovered Walker.
He was found hiding behind a bed and gave a false name. He was arrested at 16:03hrs on 27 December 2021 for an unrelated matter.
It was while on way to the police station that he finally provided his real name and was then further arrested for murder.
At the station he refused to answer any questions but was charged with Jermaine’s murder.
Jermaine’s family have 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 18th November 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.”
Enquiries into the defendant’s background revealed that he was a habitual knife carrier.
He already had one conviction for possession of an offensive weapon, a 10 inch knife on school premises.
However, he had been arrested multiple times and on 12 April 2021 he was found in possession of a large knife and again arrested.
On 16 October 2021 he was arrested on a bus in Croydon. On searching him he was found in possession of a very large ‘zombie style knife’.
He was charged with possession of an offensive weapon and bailed by the Magistrates’ Court – six weeks later he murdered Jermaine.
On 4 April 2022, a guard at Feltham Youth Offenders’ Institution was going through Marques Walker’s property when he discovered rap lyrics which referenced the attack on Jermaine:
“I had young stardawg doing roley poley but now den I had to duck from police on me
cah I left him deceased and I done high knees”
(Stardawg was the street name for one of Jermaine’s relatives)
“we had mummzy grieving
I left mandem spleeching
I had mandem looking at his wounds like shit den I think I’m bleeding”
Walker also pleaded guilty to a separate offence of GBH.
On Friday 1 July 2022 Walker was on remand for Jermaine’s murder at HMP Feltham.
He was allowed to leave his cell for exercise in the yard. At the end of the exercise period Walker and three others surrounded one of the other detainees.
Walker lunged towards this detainee who ended up on the floor.
Walker and others then kicked him and stamped on him while he was on the ground, rendering him unconscious and very seriously injured.
Subsequently the victim required life-saving surgery for the brain injuries inflicted.
Walker was heard to say, “finish him off” before being pulled away by prison officers.
As he was taken back to his cell, Walker was heard to say words to the effect of “that’s how you beat someone up”.
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