Jermaine Cools: Teenager confesses to fatally stabbing 14-year-old boy

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The boy, who was aged 16 at the time of the offence, is set to be sentenced on February 24.

A teenager has pleaded guilty to stabbing 14-year-old Jermaine Cools to death in Croydon.

A 17-year-old boy - who cannot be named for legal reasons - has pleaded guilty to murder at the Old Bailey today (Monday, 9 January).

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A six-week manhunt was launched in November 2021 after he fled the scene of the assault with the murder weapon, before police discovered the teen hiding under a bed during an arrest for an unrelated crime.

The boy, who was aged 16 at the time of the offence, is set to be sentenced on February 24.

Of the guilty plea, Jermaine’s father Julius Cools said: "This guy took our life, and our son and everything we had so even though he’s in court, he’s laughing.”

Jermaine Cools. Photo: Met PoliceJermaine Cools. Photo: Met Police
Jermaine Cools. Photo: Met Police

He told the BBC: "There’s nothing that can help us… this guy killed our son, he murdered our innocent baby just like that for no reason."

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At 6.41pm on November 18, 2021, police were warned about a large fight outside a chicken shop in London Road, Croydon.

A group of youths, including Jermaine, were fighting in a shop doorway - and during the row, the defendant was caught on CCTV drawing a large knife from his coat.

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

The attacker was seen repeatedly lunging at him with the knife, causing multiple stab wounds, while Jermaine frantically tried to dodge the assault.

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The Old Bailey in London. Photo: GettyThe Old Bailey in London. Photo: Getty
The Old Bailey in London. Photo: Getty

He fled from the scene with the knife, and a passerby helped the injured Jermaine, who was bleeding heavily, into a car and drove him to Croydon hospital.

Despite the efforts of medical staff, Jermaine succumbed to his injuries and died at 7.50pm.

A post mortem took place at Croydon University hospital two days later, and found Jermaine had suffered seven stab wounds - with the fatal wound to his chest piercing a lung.

Murder inquiries began immediately and the defendant was identified from CCTV footage.

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A manhunt ensued and police searched for him for nearly six weeks - before stumbling across the 17-year-old during another arrest.

A Met spokesperson said: “He was found hiding behind a bed and then gave a false name. He was arrested at 4.03pm on December 27, 2021 for an unrelated matter.

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

“At the station he refused to answer any questions but was charged with Jermaine’s murder.”