17 year old Killer of 14 year old Jermaine Cools, Stabbed outside Chicken Shop, to be Filmed at Old Bailey Sentencing

In England and Wales, a child criminal will be sentenced on television for the first time due to a successful legal challenge by the media. Marques Walker, age 17, has been identified as the murderer of 14-year-old Jermaine Cools, who was the youngest victim of a fatal knife crime in 2021.

On November 18, 2021, Jermaine was stabbed as he lay defenseless on the ground outside a poultry shop in Croydon, South London. The Old Bailey was informed that Walker, then 16 years old, was on bail for carrying a large weapon at the time of the murder.

Walker, now 17 years old, pleaded guilty to Jermaine’s homicide and possession of a knife earlier this year. Prior to Walker’s sentencing, the PA news agency, The Times, The Sun, and The Daily Mail newspapers filed a joint motion to revoke a court order prohibiting his identification.

A distinct request was made for permission to film Walker’s sentence and distribute the footage via news channels and the Internet. Wednesday’s legal hearing was attended by Jermaine’s parents Lorraine Dudek and Julius Cools via video link to discuss coverage of their son’s case. The attorney for Walker was present in court, and the media was represented by a barrister.

Prosecutor Caroline Carberry KC stated, “There is a strong argument in favor of lifting reporting restrictions in this case, and once it is determined to be in the public interest for reporting restrictions to be lifted, the hearing may be recorded for broadcast unless there is a compelling reason not to. We are aware that the accused will not be filmed.”

She argued that, under the circumstances, the most extensive reporting would serve as a “very powerful deterrent” and that Jermaine’s parents were “fully supportive of the most extensive reporting.” Despite Walker’s youth, Judge Sarah Munro KC lifted the legal restriction on naming him and granted permission for his sentence to be documented.

She stated in her decision that Jermaine was the youngest victim of a fatal knife crime in 2021. The defendant was 16 years old at the time of the crime. He is currently 17 years old and will turn 18 in four months. The reporting restriction would expire regardless when he turned 18 years old.

“In this extremely fact-specific case, I have no qualms concluding that the restriction should be abolished, and I hereby revoke the S45 order. In this case, the welfare of the defendant does not supersede the public’s interest in open justice; therefore, a reporting restriction is no longer required.”

She stated, “The serious nature and increasing prevalence of knife crime, knife-related homicide, and violent crime (in this case, the second offence was committed in custody); the consequent need for deterrence; the promotion of public confidence that the criminal justice system is addressing the problem; and the proximity of the defendant’s 18th birthday… all outweigh any minimal impact upon defendant’s welfare.”

She continued, “Having decided to revoke the reporting restriction, I will also grant the application for the sentence to be filmed and televised.” On November 18, 2021, Jermaine was fatally injured in London Road, close to the West Croydon train station, following an altercation involving multiple individuals.

A member of the public reported the incident in front of a chicken store at 6:41 p.m., as previously stated by the police. CCTV footage captured Walker calmly approaching the struggle while drawing a large knife from his coat. Jermaine appeared to have fallen to the ground, and a young man ran towards him while he was on the ground.

Walker was observed repeatedly lunging at Jermaine with a knife as the victim desperately attempted to avoid being wounded. Jermaine was stabbed multiple times, and the suspect fled the scene with the weapon.

Jermaine, who was severely bleeding, was helped into a vehicle by a member of the public, who then drove him to Croydon hospital, where he later died. A postmortem examination revealed that he had seven stab wounds, with the fatal chest trauma penetrating a lung.

The suspect in a murder investigation was swiftly identified via CCTV. However, he had departed his home, and the police spent nearly six weeks searching for him. On December 27, 2021, he was discovered cowering behind a bed and gave officers a false name.

On the way to the police station, he disclosed his true identity and was subsequently apprehended for murder. In spite of his refusal to answer any questions at the police station, he was charged with the murder of Jermaine and possession of an offensive weapon. On May 9, Judge Munro will sentence Bromley, Kent, resident Walker at the Old Bailey.

Judge Munro made legal history in July of last year when, following the change in the law, she became the first judge to be broadcast while sentencing a defendant for manslaughter at the Old Bailey.

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