Quamari Serunkuma-Barnes’ family visit his grave after teen killer sentenced
- Credit: Archant
There was only one place for the family of Quamari Serunkuma-Barnes to go after his killer was jailed and that was to his graveside.
Uncles, aunts, cousins and family friends made their way to Old Paddington Cemetery where Quamari, described as ‘a shining star’, is buried with his grandfather Lloyd Barnes, who died last June.
Many were disappointed and some angry with the sentencing earlier in the day which saw a life sentence with a minimum term reduced from 16 to 14 years after the 15-year-old killer admitted at the last minute taking Quamari’s life.
Lillian Serunkuma, Quamari’s mother, said: “I’m neither here nor there with the sentencing. It isn’t a good thing someone else is going to lose time.
“They have got to readdress sentences for young offenders because the tariffs at the moment don’t stop them reoffending. In 15 years he’ll be out doing what he wants.
“If they are going to rehabilitate him then show me how they are going to rehabilitate him.
“That’s something they can give me.”
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She said she visits her son’s grave every day, tending the garden full of sunflowers, plants, candles and butterflies.
Quamari’s father Paul Barnes said: “He should have admitted it from day one. He put the families through hell. For me, he was trying to save his skin, last minute.com.It was too late. What he got though doesn’t bring back Quamari.”
“It’s over now,” he added. “It’s a bit incomplete but we got a little bit of justice.”
Ervin Thomas, said: “It’s been very emotional. As a friend of the family I want to say this boy was very fortunate to get the sentence he got, and that’s due to the law. If he was 18, he’d have got the full murder charge of 25 years. RIP Quamari.”
Badonna Barnes, Quamari’s aunt, said: “Not a day goes by when we don’t think about him. He’s a piece of the puzzle we’ll never get back. He loved music, he loved picking out tunes, he was going to be our DJ as he got older.”
As music sounded out from a set of speakers, the sun slipping behind the trees, Lillian said: “Quamari touched everybody who came into contact with him. He would have liked this, all of us here celebrating his life.”