Murdered teenager’s mum and grandmother speak out as his killer is jailed
PUBLISHED: 15:16 02 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:16 02 August 2019
A teenager has been jailed for life for the brutal and senseless knife murder of a 15-year-old in Bellingham.
Jay Hughes was waiting for a friend when he was randomly attacked and fatally injured.
Nyron Jean-Baptiste, 18, from Penge, was found guilty of Jay's murder on July 20.
At the Old Bailey on Friday, August 2, he was jailed for life - and must serve a minimum of 19 years.
He also received four months detention for possession of an offensive weapon, to be served concurrently.
He had not previously been named due to his age, but Jean-Baptiste has now turned 18.
The judge in her sentencing remarks said she was in no doubt that the "brazen, quick and ruthless attack" was planned and that Jean-Baptiste had intended to kill Jay.
Previously, the court was told that on November 1 last year, Jay was waiting for a friend outside a chicken shop in Randlesdown Road, Bellingham.
As he waited, a young man Jay knew approached and began to speak to him. During the conversation, a black Ford Galaxy pulled up to the junction of Brookhowse Road with Randlesdown Road.
Three men, armed with large machete type knives, got out of the car and ran towards Jay and his acquaintance. The person Jay was talking to ran off and was pursued by two of the men.
However Jay did not run and CCTV showed him standing outside the shop. Jean-Baptiste stabbed him once in the left side of his upper body.
A witness later told police they heard the person who stabbed Jay say, "I got one" and that Jay did not say or do anything to provoke the attack. After stabbing Jay, the suspect ran back towards to vehicle.
The other two armed suspects who had chased, but not caught, the other boy arrived back at the car which sped away.
After being stabbed, Jay staggered into the chicken shop, where customers began first aid.
He died at Kings College Hospital hours later.
Baptiste was later found and arrested in Gravesend with a large hunting knife in his trouser waistband.
A mass of DNA and camera evidence left the jury in no doubt what he'd done.
In an impact statement, Jay's mother, Cindy Hughes told the court: "Jai was my first son and was very special to me. I was proud of the young man he was becoming and proud to call him my son.
"I loved his zest for life, his confidence, his positivity, his fantastic sense of humour, his constant smile and most of all his kind heart. We shared some great times together joking and laughing as he reminded me so much of myself at his age.
"He was just a normal teenager but was always respectful, which was a quality he also tried to instil in his younger brothers.
"I have so many special memories of Jai.
"Even from a baby, he always had something in his mouth. From a dummy as a baby to bottles of drink, straws - even held his headphones in his mouth. He loved playing with his toys, especially his Ben 10.
"I remember teaching him to ride a bike. He persisted until he could do it and never got off the rest of his life. He went everywhere on it. Even one of his teachers' eulogy referred to 'that blessed bike'.
"During the last nine months I have been through, and am still going through a range of emotions - shock, devastation, confusion, anger, denial. I am so empty and sad inside it is heart-wrenching. It is like a part of me has died as well.
"Nyron Jean-Baptiste, you need to realise that you have changed our lives forever and that we are the ones left serving a life sentence. My only hope for you is that you can be truly rehabilitated and return to society as a better person.
"One day if you have children of your own, you may begin to understand the devastating impact your actions had on the lives of so many people."
And Jay's grandmother Sophia Sewell said in part of her victim impact statement: "There's a lot I want to say to the defendant, but it wouldn't be suitable. However I'd like to say to Nyron Jean-Baptiste, this was unacceptable and you will no doubt be in prison for a long time.
"I hope you use some of that time to reflect on the pain that you've caused my whole family. Maybe when you have children you might understand and regret that you took an innocent life and for what? Why? We ourselves will never understand and we will always be grieving."
After the sentencing, Det Sgt Anthony Atkin said: "Jay Hughes was just a 15-year-old boy who was simply buying food and waiting for a friend to spend the evening at a youth club; this could have been anyone's child that evening.
"What Jay did not know, was that at that moment Nyron Jean-Baptiste had armed himself with a large knife and set out with others intent on violence.
"CCTV captured the moments as Nyron arrived in a car. Jay was standing outside the shop with another, who was chased off. Nyron approached a defenceless Jay who had not provoked or sought to flee. I doubt that Jay truly understood what was about to happen.
"Nyron indiscriminately stabbed Jay in the chest piercing his heart and then boasted that he had 'got one' as he ran back to the car. I am at a loss to understand how anyone could carry out such a wickedly despicable act.
"Nyron was identified and eventually tracked down and arrested. Even after all the horror he inflicted with a weapon, a large hunting knife was found in the waistband of his trousers on arrest. Throughout the trial Nyron denied his involvement, claiming he did not know where he was that day.
"The jury, after careful consideration of the evidence saw through this and found him guilty of this heinous act. At sentencing, as he has done throughout the investigation and trial, Nyron has shown no remorse. He now has a minimum of 19 years to reflect on what he has done and the pain and suffering he has inflicted on jay, his family, his friends and all those who witnessed this brutal act.
"My heart goes out to Jay's family who are obviously devastated by the loss of their precious young child. I can only hope that the sentenced passed today will help in some small way.
"Lastly I would also like thank those people who came to Jay's aid and those who came forward and assisted the investigation. Many people came to help that night and it is important that when wickedness has been done, the good that lies within a community is not forgotten."