A drill rapper who left his victim’s mother too terrified to tend to her son’s grave for fear of reprisals has been jailed for 19 years.
Jay Hughes was only 15 years old and was not a gang member when he was stabbed to death by stranger Nyron Jean-Baptiste, 18 so he could prove himself.
Jean-Baptiste shouted: ‘I got one’ as he plunged a machete into the boy’s chest outside Morley’s chicken shop in Bellingham, south east London.
He had never met Jay when he pulled up in the black Ford Galaxy wearing a mask with two other males at 5pm.
The Old Bailey heard he wanted to ‘harm others in order to maintain his social position.
Police and paramedics rushed to Randlesdown Road, and took the victim to King’s College Hospital, where he was in surgery for two hours, but nothing could be done to save him.
Judge Anuja Dhir told the killer: ‘You went straight up to Jay Hughes a young man who you did not know, who had no gang affiliation, who just happened to be standing in a street where a rival gang, the ‘B Side Gang’ happened to operate.
‘You lifted your large knife which had a blade of at least eight inches in length, described by some of the eye-witnesses as a machete, and you stabbed him once in the left side of the chest.
‘You knew exactly what you had done the galaxy was dumped in a nearby residential street. You went into hiding- you were eventually arrested on 10 December in Gravesend in possession of a 10-inch bladed knife.
‘Police found a collection of knives and masks in the flat you were sharing with others.
‘I am satisfied from the evidence at trial, which included your association with known gang members, your admitted habitual knife carrying, your involvement in gang videos posted on YouTube, the drill rap lyrics you wrote, the collection of and type of knives and masks found at the Gravesend address you fled to after the fatal stabbing and your previous convictions prove that at the time you were a M20 gang member or associated gang, and that you were embedded in knife/gang culture.
‘This fatal stabbing was gang related and as I have already said planned with a motive simple and chilling.
‘The plan was to stab and to kill someone in the Billingham area where a rival gang the B-Side gang operated.
‘There was a delay in the arrest and that was because the defendant moved and went to Gravesend and that caused great distress.’
Moments before leaving to go to the scene of his death on November 1 last year Jay told his grandmother, Sophia Sewell, ‘I love you’.
The next time she saw him he was dying on the floor behind a police cordon.
Ms Sewell, who works as a chief, was told by her neighbour her grandson had been attacked and she ran to try and help but was barred by the police.
She told the Old Bailey she said: ‘What’s happened? Jai (corr) please I am here.
‘I needed to touch him- hold his hand. My chest really hurt, and I was holding it. Even when I walked back home, I knew in my heart he would not survive.’
Mr Hughes’ mother, Cindy was present in court to see her son’s killer jailed. Jay was her first-born son, and the eldest of three brothers.
He dreamed of becoming an animator and cartoonist from a young age and spent many hours on his bike.
In her statement Cindy said: ‘I have suffered with severe anxiety. I had irrational fears about visiting Jai’s grave or the Bellingham area.
‘I thought someone may follow me back home to where my other sons were.’
Jean-Baptiste remained silent during the hearing wearing a prison issue tracksuit with his hair in dreadlocks.
He has a previous convictions for carrying knives in public dating back to 2017 and on 23 July this year pleaded guilty to possessing a knife and received a six-month detainment and training order.
Jean-Baptiste’s lawyer, Graham Trembath, QC, said: ‘As he approached his early teens the gang became his family.
‘The peer group pressure builds and builds, and young people behave in a way which leads us to where we are in this case today.
‘He jumped out of that car and ran over to where Jay was standing. There was a swing of the arm which might be described as a poking motion.’
Jean-Baptiste of Hawthorne Grove, Penge, was jailed for life with a minimum of sentence of 19 years.