…By Judah Olanisebee for TDPel Media.
A teenager who murdered 14-year-old Jermaine Cools in November 2021 is facing a possible life sentence.
Marques Walker, 17, stabbed Jermaine to death using a large knife in a fight near West Croydon station.
Jermaine was the youngest victim of knife crime on London’s streets in 2021 and the 27th fatal victim of knife crime that year.
Walker pleaded guilty to murder and possession of a knife, and his sentencing by Judge Sarah Munro KC at the Old Bailey is due to be televised.
The judge recently granted media requests to lift the reporting restrictions on Walker’s identity and allowed her sentencing remarks to be filmed and televised.
Jermaine’s parents Lorraine Dudek and Julius Cools supported the media applications and were “fully supportive of the widest possible reporting”.
The judge ruled that the lifting of the reporting restrictions was in the public interest, stating that “the welfare of this defendant does not outweigh the public interest in open justice and a reporting restriction is no longer necessary”.
The fatal incident took place in London Road, near West Croydon railway station, following a fight involving several people.
A member of the public reported the incident outside a chicken shop. CCTV showed Walker calmly walking towards the fight and drawing a large knife from his coat.
Jermaine fell over, and Walker repeatedly lunged at him with the knife.
Jermaine received multiple stab wounds and later died in Croydon hospital.
Walker ran from the scene with the knife.
Police identified Walker from CCTV footage but were unable to locate him for almost six weeks.
On 27 December 2021, he was found hiding behind a bed and arrested for murder.
He refused to answer questions, but was charged with Jermaine’s murder and possession of an offensive weapon.
The judge’s decision to allow the sentencing remarks to be televised was a legal first for a case involving a youth defendant and a young knife crime victim.
Prosecutor Caroline Carberry KC argued that the widest reporting of the case would act as a “very powerful deterrent”.
The judge cited the serious nature and increasing prevalence of knife crime and the need for deterrence as the reasons for her decision.