Teenager pleads guilty to knife murder of 14-year-old boy

A teenager has admitted fatally stabbing a 14-year-old boy in south London.

Jermaine Cools was injured in London Road, Croydon, near West Croydon railway station, following a fight involving a number of people on November 18 2021.

Police said that at 6.41pm, a member of the public reported the incident outside a chicken shop.

The defendant, then aged 16, was caught on CCTV calmly walking towards the fight and drawing a large knife from his coat, police said.

Jermaine had fallen over and the youth ran towards him while he was on the ground.

The defendant was seen to repeatedly lunge at Jermaine with the knife, while the victim was frantically trying to avoid being stabbed, Scotland Yard said.

Old Bailey
Jermaine’s family sat in Court Two of the Old Bailey on what would have been the first day of the defendant’s trial (PA)

Jermaine received multiple stab wounds and the defendant ran off from the scene with 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, where he later died.

A post-mortem examination found he had suffered seven stab wounds to his body, with the fatal wound to his chest piercing a lung.

A murder investigation began and the defendant was quickly identified from CCTV.

However, he had left his home and police hunted for him for nearly six weeks.

On December 27 2021, he was found hiding behind a bed and gave a false name to officers.

It was while on the way to the police station that he finally provided his real name and was arrested for murder.

At the station he refused to answer any questions, but was charged with Jermaine’s murder and possession of an offensive weapon.

On Monday the defendant, now aged 17, appeared at the Old Bailey for a plea hearing.

He pleaded guilty to murder, having previously admitted possessing a knife in London Road, Croydon, on the same date.

Jermaine’s family sat in Court Two of the Old Bailey on what would have been the first day of the defendant’s trial.

Prosecutor Caroline Carberry KC suggested a provisional sentencing date of February 24.

The facts of the case were not outlined in court and the defendant, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was remanded into custody.