A teenager who stabbed a motorcyclist to death during the making of a music video has been sentenced to life in prison. Brandon McNeil was told he will serve a minimum of 24 years for the attack on Shane Jerome, 23, who was riding his motorbike in South London, on July 21 last year.
Mr Jerome was part of a convoy of vehicles, including green and red Lamborghinis, featuring in the film for rap artist Chariffe Greaves, who goes by stage name Reef, the Old Bailey heard on Friday.
Armed with a large knife, McNeil, 19, ran up to Mr Jerome and stabbed him in the chest, piercing his heart. He also swung the blade at a second man on a quad bike which was also part of the convoy near Brixton Tube station. Despite efforts to save him, Mr Jerome, from Thornton Heath, was pronounced dead at the scene that evening.
At his sentencing hearing, Judge Sarah Munro told the court how McNeil was involved with the local “7” or “L” gang and “must” have believed those involved in the video were linked with rivals, however there was no evidence that any were.
READ MORE: ‘They were stripped away from us’: Daughter’s heartbreaking words after mum and dad stabbed to death in their own home as killer gets life behind bars
Passing the sentence, she said: “Nothing I can do today can bring Shane back nor heal the pain and lifelong grief you have inflicted upon his family and loved ones.” She told the court McNeil had made several recordings and photos, uncovered by police, in which he rapped about killing and played with knives.
She said: “You have made recordings in which you have recorded rap lyrics glorifying the carrying of knives and the use of them to kill your rivals. One such video was uploaded less than a week before the murder. Your Instagram account is in your gang name and contains photographs of you proudly brandishing knives in known gang territory, just like the weapon you used to kill Shane.
“Even more chillingly, a week after the murder three videos were recorded on your phone of you playing with knives and bragging about your skill with them. A fourth video was of the murder scene after the killing which had been sent to you.”
Mr Jerome’s family sat in court and wept throughout proceedings. Several stood as McNeil, of Lollard Street, Vauxhall, was sentenced.
Several family members gave statements to the court, including his mother, Dawn, who explained how the murder had left her with “unbearable pain”. Facing McNeil, she said: “I feel you are not fit for society, you have taken the most precious gift any mother could have, my boy.”
Mr Jerome’s longstanding girlfriend Seleka Gathercole, told the judge how she had watched him die and that she now suffered from flashbacks. She had known Shane for eight years and they planned to marry and start a family, the court heard. Addressing McNeil, she said: “You had no right to take the action you took that day.”
The court heard how McNeil and a number of others approached those in the convoy as they sat in traffic near Brixton Market. CCTV footage played to the court showed the moment of the attack.
McNeil, who was riding a bike, could be seen cycling head-on towards Mr Jerome, who was cornered between the green Lamborghini and a bus. The footage showed the attacker leap from the bike before swinging the knife.
He fled from the scene and was arrested on July 29 after being traced by forensic evidence gathered where he had placed his palm on the sports car, the court heard. The judge was told how, when police searched his home, they found a number of knives and, later, he gave a no-comment interview when questioned.
Mitigating, Rajiv Menon told the court McNeil had an “unhealthy interest in knives” and was an “habitual knife carrier” and had been the victim of human trafficking at a young age before becoming involved in gangs as a young teenager.
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