Quamari Barnes murder: Boy, 15, jailed for life after teenager stabbed to death over Instagram feud

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A 15-year-old who stabbed to death a teenage boy outside the gates of his school after a feud on Instagram has been locked up for life. 

The masked killer ambushed Quamari Serunkuma-Barnes, also 15, as he left the Capital City Academy in Willesden at the end of the school day. 

Quamari, a year 11 pupil, ran for his life and screamed for help, realising he was about to be stabbed, but could not avoid three blows with a kitchen knife including one which pierced his lung. 

At the Old Bailey today, the killer confessed for the first time he had carried out the deadly attack but claimed he had only meant to “touch” him with the knife 

He said he had lay in wait after being dubbed a “waste man” on Instagram Live days earlier, adding that he wanted to see his grandmother that day so she could calm him down but she was at work. 

Stab victim: Quamari Barnes

Judge John Bevan QC sentenced the boy to indefinite detention behind bars, with a minimum term of 14 years, but decided to preserve the boy’s anonymity so he would have a chance of rehabilitation while behind bars. 

“This is a bad case of its kind, Quamari could have done nothing which merited an attack of this severity”, he said. 

“His death was the product of a total lack of self-control, combined with, I regret to say, cowardice involved in knifing an unarmed victim.”

Mourners: Crowds gathered outside the Capital City Academy in Willesden after Quamari Barnes was stabbed to death (Nigel Howard)

The court heard Quamari was singing as he walked out of the school gates at around 3.30pm, recognising the killer immediately as he approached. 

“He saw him and ran for his life back towards the school, shouting for help and that he was going to be stabbed”, said prosecutor Sally O’Neill QC. 

In his confession letter, the killer said he had been attacked on January 14 by members of the ‘365 gang’ and then believed he was taunted on Instagram Live a few days later. 

He said he was given the murder weapon, a pair of gloves, and a ski mask to disguise his face by a friend who “asked whether I was going to take the violation”. 

Flowers at the scene of the stabbing in Willesden (NIGEL HOWARD ©)

He said he woke up “frustrated and anxious” on the day of the attack, and wanted to see his grandmother in Willesden Green to calm him down but she was at work when he arrived at her home. 

“I’m really sorry for what I did, I don’t know why I did it, I didn’t mean to do it”, he wrote. 

“I wanted to see my grandma, I was scared and confused. 

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean Quamari to get so hurt, I’m not a murderer, I’m not a ‘waste man’.”

He admitted lying in wait for a member of the ‘365 gang’ outside the school gates, but then chased after Quamari when he recognised him as also being part of the same group. 

However, Ms O’Neill told the court there was no evidence that Quamari, a “hard working, well-liked, and sociable” boy, was in a gang

The killer claimed in his letter that he had tripped and fallen while attacking Quamari, and had not meant for the stab wounds to be so deep. 

“I didn’t mean to hurt Quamari, I didn’t mean to hurt him and for him to die”, he said. 

The boy changed his clothes after the attack and ditched the kitchen knife, but was immediately identified as the killer and his name quickly spread on social media.  

Kirsty Brimelow QC, defending, attacked Brent Council for failing the killer as he was moved to seven different foster homes in the last two years, dropping out of the education system.

She said: “The local authority failed him by moving him around so he had no education since September 2016.”

She said the boy’s mother had written a stream of letters to the council and her local MPs, warning his behaviour was “deteriorating” and begging for anger management treatment.

The judge noted the boy is now receiving anger management treatment in custody, but noted it is “too late”.   

He denied murder but was convicted after a trial at the Old Bailey.

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