London

Quamari Serunkuma-Barnes: Teen sentenced for 'pure evil' murder

Quamari and his mother Lillian Serunkuma Image copyright Capital City Academy
Image caption Quamari and his mother Lillian Serunkuma

A 15-year-old boy has been sentenced for stabbing to death another teenager outside his school gates in an act described as "pure evil".

Quamari Serunkuma-Barnes, also 15, was chased and stabbed three times outside Capital City Academy in Willesden, west London, in January.

The defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found guilty of murder after a trial at the Old Bailey.

He was detained for at least 14 years.

Following the trial, the boy admitted attacking Quamari.

'I'm not a murderer'

In a statement, he said: "I don't know why I did it. I was scared and confused.

"I'm telling the truth for Quamari's mum and dad. I'm sorry.

"I didn't mean Quamari to get so hurt.

"I'm not a murderer. I didn't want him to die.

Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption The motive behind the killing remains unknown

"I want to have a different life but I don't know how. I'm trying."

In a statement read out in court, Quamari's mother Lillian Serunkuma described the killer's actions as "pure evil".

"You never gave Quamari a second chance to defend himself.

"You took his life in a cold and malicious way."

She said her son had a "fun loving spirit" and his life was stolen for "no reason", adding what the teenager did was "indefensible".


Defendant's previous convictions:

  • 5 February 2015: A youth conditional caution for possession of an offensive weapon
  • 1 October 2015: Three convictions for street robbery - one offence committed on 24 June 2015 and two offences committed on 25 June 2015
  • 1 August 2016: Battery
  • 11 October 2016: Another offence of battery
  • 1 November 2016: Grievous bodily harm against a 14-year-old pupil whose jaw he fractured after he punched her

Image copyright Google
Image caption Tributes were left at the school gates following his death

Judge John Bevan QC said it was "infinitely depressing" to sentence a young person for such a serious crime.

He said: "It is very unusual to admit a murder after conviction. It is a mature decision rather than taking your chances in the Court of Appeal."

But he added: "This is a bad case of its kind because Quamari can have done nothing to merit an attack of this severity.

"His death was a product of a total lack of self control combined with the cowardice of knifing an unarmed victim."

Prosecutor Sally O'Neill QC said: "It is not accepted that Quamari was anything to do with any sort of gang.

"Information from the school painted a picture of a happy, hardworking, well liked and sociable boy."

'Defenceless schoolboy'

Outside court, Quamari's father Paul Barnes said he thought his son's killer was "grabbing at straws" by admitting the attack.

He said he was "trying to save his own skin. Last ditch dot com. Trying to save his own bacon".

Det Ch Insp Jamie Stevenson, from the homicide and major crime command, said: "This was a deliberate and planned attack on a defenceless schoolboy as he made his way home, laughing and joking with friends.

"Quamari was well liked amongst his peers and had his whole life ahead of him. He was a Year 11 pupil and was in the latter stages of preparing for his GCSEs.

"His friends have gone on to sit their exams, something Quamari was never able to do, and his family have been denied the opportunity to know what their son and brother would have gone on to achieve."

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