On Friday, 25 September, 16-year-old Marvin Dyer, who can now be named following the lifting of reporting restrictions by the court, appeared at the Old Bailey where he was jailed for life, to serve a minimum of 16 years before being eligible to apply for parole.
Dyer and a second 16-year-old boy had previously appeared at the same court on Tuesday, 11 August where, following trial, Dyer was convicted of murder and wounding and was found not guilty on all counts and was released.
Two to three weeks before the murder, the victims, Baptista Adjei, aged 15, and his 15-year-old friend, had become involved in an online disagreement in a Snapchat group chat with the defendants, who were only vaguely known to them outside of the online forum having seen the boys around the Stratford area.
The interaction began as mutual banter, but eventually turned ugly.
The boys had begun by taunting each other, culminating in a brief online exchange; Dyer messaged Baptista saying “If you’ve got no bodies on your blade, leave the group chat.” Baptista had replied, “Shut up. You’ll be the first.”
This exchange continued between both victims and both defendants, ending with Dyer threatening to be outside the victim’s school waiting for them at 15:25hrs the following day.
He was not waiting for them when they finished school. Weeks later, on the day of murder, 10 October 2019, Baptista and his 15-year-old friend took the bus towards Stratford.
Officers investigating the murder reviewed CCTV footage captured aboard the bus and saw Dyer, then aged 15, board the bus at Stratford Broadway and calmly pull a balaclava over his face while wearing a blue latex glove.
As Baptista and his friend made their way down the stairs of the bus, they were caught completely unaware. He stabbed them both with a 10” combat knife.
Dyer was seen to hold on to the handrail and in an attack that lasts just nine seconds, inflicted two fatal wounds on Baptista before turning his attention to Baptista’s friend inflicting further wounds
Baptista was stabbed twice in the chest. The blade punctured his lung and his heart. Not realising the severity of his injuries, he ran off, making it as far as Stratford Centre before collapsing.
Despite the efforts of medics, Baptista died from his injuries at the scene at 3.49pm.
Baptista’s friend was stabbed once in the arm and once in the leg, he was taken to an east London hospital by the London Ambulance Service where he remained for almost a week following the incident. He has since made a full recovery.
A murder investigation was launched led by Detective Inspector Chris Soole of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command.
Word of the murder spread quickly on social media and throughout the community.
On 11 October 2019, members of Marvin Dyer’s family, who had themselves heard the rumours, confronted him. He admitted the attack on both victims and was subsequently presented to police at Forest Gate police station by his mother.
On 12 October 2019, he was charged with Baptista’s murder, grievous bodily harm with intent in relation to the second 15-year-old victim and two counts of possession of an offensive weapon. He was remanded in custody to await trial and subsequently, sentencing.
Detective Sergeant Suzanne Soren said: “It is sad and concerning that such extreme violence was used to resolve such minor conflict – nothing more than name calling.
“The sentence handed down today will not bring back Baptista. His loved ones will not be healed by the knowledge that justice has been served. They will remember and miss him every day in the years to come.
“Similarly, Marvin Dyer’s family’s lives have been changed forever, their only comfort being that they did the right thing in holding him to account and presenting him to police.
“My thoughts are with everyone touched by this most tragic and needless of incidents and I hope that anyone involved in knife crime and violence takes something from this outcome – nothing is worth the price that will be paid for murder and ultimately, that price is paid not only by the perpetrator and the victim, but also their families.”
In a victim impact statement Baptista’s Mother said: “We can never get over Baptista’s death but we hope, and I pray, that with time the constant pain that we feel subsides.
“Ours and Baptista’s plans were always that he would finish school and move on to higher education, get married and if he was blessed, to have children and make me a grandmother.
“His dreams, together with mine, will never happen because he was taken from us in such a cruel way.”