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Teenager guilty of schoolboy's murder

News   •   Jun 30, 2017 12:42 BST

[Victim: Quamari Serunkuma-Barnes]

A teenager who lay in wait and brutally stabbed a schoolboy to death moments after he left the school gates has been found guilty of murder.

The 15-year-old boy from Norbury, was found guilty on Friday, 30 June at the Old Bailey of the murder of Quamari Serunkuma-Barnes.

He will be sentenced at the same court on 4 September.

Quamari who was 15-years-old at the time of his death was the second teenager to lose his life in London this year.

To this day, the boy has never given a reason for why he set upon Quamari.

The jury heard how on 23 January, Quamari who attended a school in Willesden left at the end of the school day unaware that just a short distance further along Doyle Gardens the 15-year-old boy was laying in wait.

Quamari was popular amongst his peers and on the day he was murdered he left school laughing and joking with his friends as they walked home.

The teenage boy - dressed in dark clothing and with his face covered - had been loitering and peering through the school gates nearby.

As Quamari made his way down the road it led him directly into the path of the teenage boy. Within seconds of the confrontation Quamari was heard to shout out that he was going to be stabbed. He quickly turned on his heels and ran off heading in the direction of his school.

Weaving in and out of the traffic Quamari desperately tried to get away, he shouted for help but many of the students who were making their way home thought the two boys were playing around.

The teenage boy who was a keen amateur runner outran Quamari and grabbed him. He stabbed him multiple times in his back, shoulder and upper leg. Quamari fell to the ground and the teenage boy fled the scene.

Some of the schoolchildren who had witnessed the attack came to Quamari's aid and two drivers stopped at the scene. One of the drivers - a woman - tried to comfort and reassure Quamari as he lay injured.

Police and the London Ambulance Service were called just before 15:30hrs and Quamari was taken to a central London hospital.

Whilst at hospital a nurse treating Quamari asked him what had happened. Apprehensive at first he initially refused to disclose any details but he later told the nurse the name of the teenage boy who had stabbed him.

Doctors initially thought Quamari's injuries were not life threatening but during surgery Quamari's health began to deteriorate. He went into cardiac arrest and despite the best efforts of the medical team Quamari died. He was pronounced dead at 20:01hrs.

A post-mortem examination was held on 26 January and gave the cause of death as a haemorrhage and stab wound to the chest and left lung.

Immediately after the stabbing a schoolgirl who witnessed the stabbing and recognised the attacker called the teenage boy on his mobile. He claimed to be at home but the schoolgirl told him that she had seen him run past her following the attack and that he was lying. The teenage boy denied this and terminated the phone call.

A murder investigation was immediately launched and through CCTV enquires the teenage boy was identified as a suspect.

On 24 January, a detective text the teenage boy asking him to make contact with the investigation team. The teenage boy made contact and advised that he was at home.

Detectives immediately made their way to the teenage boy's home address in Norbury and arrested him. During questioning the teenage boy refused to give an explanation was to why he carried out the attack. He was charged with Quamari's murder on 26 January.

Detective Chief Inspector Jamie Stevenson from the Homicide and Major Crime Command said: "This was a deliberate and planned attack on a defenceless schoolboy as he made is way home laughing and joking with friends.

"Quamari didn't stand a chance that day. He was outrun by his attacker who had an advantage over his victim in that he was an adept runner and was able to quickly catch up with Quamari. We believe that Quamari was desperately trying to make his way back to school to seek refuge but sadly he never made it.

"Many of the schoolchildren who witnessed the attack initially thought the two boys were messing around. Little did they know that within a matter of minutes Quamari would be lying helplessly on the ground fighting for his life. Those that witnessed the events have been left completely devastated by the loss of their friend.

"Quamari was well liked amongst his peers and six months on from his murder the loss is still felt. This was a senseless attack; Quamari had his whole life ahead of him. He was a year 11 pupil and was in the latter stages of preparing for his GCSE's. His friends have gone on to recently 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 become.

"I am pleased that the jury has reached the decision that they have. While today's verdict will never bring Quamari back I hope that it provides his family and friends with a small measure of solace."