Group armed with knives and machete attacked Jermaine Goupall, 15, in Thornton Heath
Three people have been given life sentences for the murder of a teenager in South London who was stabbed to death while on a night out with friends.
Jermaine Goupall, 15, and his friends were chased by a group wearing balaclavas and armed with knives and a machete in Georgia Road, Thornton Heath.
The attackers caught up with the teenager and stabbed him in the thigh on 8 August 2017, the Old Bailey heard. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Adam Benzahi, 21, will serve a minimum term of 22 years; Samuel Oliver-Rowland, 18, a minimum of 20 years; and Junior Simpson, 17, a minimum of 18 years. All three are from Croydon.
Saskia Haye-Elliot, 18, of Croydon, was found guilty of manslaughter and was sentenced to 12 years and six months.
Another teenager, Daniel Luke, 18, was found not guilty of murder.
The group convicted were travelling in a silver Ford Focus and stopped outside a Costcutter shop in Green Lane.
Most of Jermaine’s friends took cover in the store and the shopkeeper closed the shutters to try to keep them safe, the court heard.
The circumstances of the attack had been predicted in lyrics penned by Simpson, who is also known as the rapper M-Trap 0, the court heard.
The judge, Anthony Leonard QC, said the 17-year-old had an “extraordinary” collection of images of himself with knives and a machete, and Haye-Elliot, his girlfriend, also appeared comfortable posing with a blade.
The judge told Simpson: “Music was a big part of your life but it’s clear so was your absolutely chilling addiction to holding and using knives.
“These voracious killings with knife crimes need to be stopped. Three youths armed with knives attacked one defenceless 15-year-old.”
He added that his sentences must reflect the “community’s abhorrence” of such violent killings.
The Met’s homicide and major crime command had identified the suspects through mobile phone analysis, CCTV footage and information from the local community.
Oliver-Rowland, Haye-Elliot and Simpson were arrested between 11 and 17 August and charged while in custody,. Benzahi was arrested on 31 October and charged the following day.
During the trial, the jury heard that Jermaine and his friends may have been targeted because of tensions between rival gangs in the area. Police believe the teenager was not himself an active gang member.
DCI Tony Lynes, who led the investigation, said Jermaine and his friends were targeted by the suspects, who wore wore masks or balaclavas.
“I can only imagine the fear Jermaine felt as he was attacked. Members of the public rushed to his aid as they tried to stem the bleeding and keep Jermaine calm before the emergency services arrived and continued to administer first aid, but tragically he died from his injuries.
“These four defendants denied involvement, but the weight of evidence against them was enough to convince a jury of their guilt.
“Jermaine’s senseless murder appears to have stemmed from gang rivalry and violence, and we now have a family left utterly devastated and the lives of all involved blighted forever.
“I would like to highlight the courage and dignity Jermaine’s family have shown since his death and throughout the trial, and I hope the verdict and upcoming sentences will offer them some comfort and help ease their enduring grief as they continue to come to terms with their tragic loss.”