The “barbaric” killers of Croydon teenager Camron Smith were yesterday handed lengthy sentences by a judge at the Old Bailey.
Smith, 16, was unarmed and in his underwear when subjected to a “frenzied” attack, stabbed a total of eight times, including with a zombie knife, in front of his mother in their own home on Bracken Avenue on the Shrublands estate in Shirley on a night of a Croydon crime wave on June 30-July 1 in 2021.
Ring-leader Romain LaPierre, 20, received a life sentence, with a minimum term of 28 years, for the murder.
Jordan Tcheuko, 19, of Wembley, was convicted of manslaughter and jailed for 15 years.
A third member of the same gang of drug-dealers who operated in Thornton Heath, Sako Amoniba-Burnley, 21, from Norbury, was found guilty of robbery and jailed for seven years.
LaPierre is to serve a concurrent nine-year sentence for robbery.
Sentencing, Judge Michael Kay KC told the Old Bailey: “This is yet another harrowing and depressing tale of gang-related violence culminating in the barbaric killing of a young man.”
He said Smith’s mother had “desperately tried to ward off the attack”. The judge said, “In giving evidence, she told the court she was begging the attackers to kill her rather than her son.”
Smith’s mother had been left “broken-hearted” by the loss of her only child and could not now face returning to their home, the judge added.
Jailing LaPierre for life, Judge Kay told him: “You are a brutal and callous killer and I anticipate you will remain an extremely dangerous person for many years.”
Tcheuko had been “side by side” with LaPierre, kicking down the front door, chasing Camron upstairs and forcing the bedroom door, the judge said.
His jail sentence reflected the “gruesome and terrible circumstances”, the judge said.
The court heard how LaPierre had previous convictions for carrying knives, including a Samurai sword, machete and hunting knife.
Tcheuko had previously been caught with kitchen knives and had joined a gang at the age of 13 after witnessing the stabbing of a close friend at the age of 10.
The court heard Tcheuko had expressed remorse for his involvement in the killing, saying: “Camron did not deserve what happened to him.”
During the trial, the prosecutor told jurors the pair had set out on a moped and in a hijacked mini-cab to track down those they had linked to the stabbing of an associate.
After entering two other addresses, they stormed into Camron’s home and chased him into his mother’s bedroom, the court heard.
Ringleader LaPierre had thrust a zombie knife into Camron’s stomach, the court was told. The killers were in the house for less than three minutes as they carried out their “revenge” attack.
The judge praised the “admirable” conduct of LaPierre’s father who went to police after his son confessed to him.
The police investigation remains open because some of those involved in the attack remain at large, having fled the country in the days immediately following.
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