picture: Junior Nkwelle
A seventeen year-old boy and fourteen year-old girl have been sentenced to ten and eight years respectively for the manslaughter of fifteen year-old Junior Nkwelle on the Loughborough Estate last year.
Cherelle McKenzie-Jackson, 14, and Marc Anthony Tulloch, 17, were found not guilty of murder at the Old Bailey and will serve half their sentence in a young offenders institution.
picture: Cherelle McKenzie-Jackson
Aspiring footballer Junior was playing soccer with friends outside Secker House on the evening of September 27 when a group of girls approached them. A verbal fight broke out between McKenzie-Jackson and the boys and she threatened to get her boyfriend.
Instead she went home to get a knife, but when one of the boys took it off her she phoned her boyfriend, Tulloch.
picture: Marc Anthony Tulloch
When Tulloch arrived he singled out Junior and in the ensuing fight brought out his own knife and stabbed him fatally in the chest.
Ambulance staff were unable to save him and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Junior’s mother, Stella, issued the following statement:
“Junior was my first child, and I have had two sons after him. Junior was 15 years old when he was murdered, his younger brother was 13 and my third son was only three months old. We all lived together in our flat close to where Junior was murdered. Junior also has two half brothers that he was very close with.
“I can only describe Junior as a kind, ambitious, humble, reliable, caring, friendly boy who always had a smile on his face. He was a fantastic footballer and a great student who loved school. He was a typical teenage boy, didn’t always do as he was told but I can honestly say I have never had a bad report about him from anyone. He was always smiling and had many friends at school and around the estate where we live. He was a good son and a wonderful companion, brother and role model to his younger brothers.
“This all still seems so unreal, I cannot actually believe he has been taken from us and still at times I expect him to walk through the front door. Even five months on I feel in a daze, like this is a bad dream, and one day I will wake up and he will be there at home laughing and talking about football. Then I am hit by the sad reality and the pain is indescribable.
“I have thought and continue to think about it daily, trying to understand why. It doesn’t make any sense to me, and not having any answers makes it harder to understand and deal with. He didn’t do anything wrong, he wasn’t horrible, or rude. He certainly didn’t deserve to have his young, innocent life taken away. It makes me feel so angry.
It happened so quickly and so close to our home. I didn’t even know what was going on and I had no chance to help, or see him and say goodbye and tell him how much I love him because by the time I got to him my poor child had bled to death.
“I wake every day and see where my boy was killed, the vision of him lying on the floor wounded, breathless, motionless, and bleeding as the paramedics tried to save him, a horrific vision that is engraved in my mind. At night when I try to sleep that horrific night revisits me.
There have been many days I can’t face even going outside as the reminder of what has happened is too painful.
“I had no chance to prepare myself or my other sons at how to deal with this. I always thought my boys would have to bury me one day, not this way around. I had to formerly identify my son in a morgue, I saw my son in a casket, and no parent or family member should ever have to go through that. I still struggle every day in understanding it, dealing with it and trying to support my younger sons. I don’t know how I am meant to be strong and help them when I am struggling to function each day myself.
“Junior’s 13 years old brother will have to live with the memories of that night for the rest of his life. He is a very quiet boy and although he does not like to talk about it much, I know he is struggling and can clearly see a change in him. He has been referred for counseling through school to help him cope with his brother’s death. It took months before he would even go into the bedroom he shared with Junior. He was sleeping in my bed and had nightmares about the incident for weeks. He no longer has his brother to talk to, to play with, to quarrel with, to share with or to learn from and is now alone in their room, how do I take away the pain he feels missing his brother? It just can’t be done.
“He does not go out any more or play football and meet with his friends.
He would not admit this is because of what happened but I know he is terrified. My other son is a baby and will never remember his older brother; he will not have the opportunity to ever know his brother. I had hopes of Junior one day teaching him how to play football, helping him with homework and being a typical older brother, but all of this has been taken from him. I will only be able to describe how much of a role model his brother would have been to him.
“I know Junior’s half brothers feel destroyed and frustrated by what happened to Junior. They feel like they had no chance to protect their younger brother. Junior was not the type of person to get into altercations and they are shocked, angered and hurt that they were unable to protect Junior.
“These last few weeks at court have been devastating for us. Having to sit and listen to what happened to Junior brings back the emotions and anger of that night. I cannot believe my son was murdered over silly childish quarrels. All he wanted to do was play football with his friends and be left alone. We have had to listen to these brave witnesses going over the events of what happened, which is not only daunting and upsetting to them, it is heartbreaking for our family and friends, having to re-live the sad, horrific death of our innocent young Junior.
“We can only hope and pray justice comes to the two people who took my sons life and that Junior will be able to rest in peace and know how much he was loved and will be missed.”