A teenage killer who stabbed a schoolboy to death in revenge after the victim mocked his gang in a drill rap was jailed for at least 26 years today.
Carlton Tanueh, 19, chased promising lightweight boxer Tyler Hurley, 16, on to a bus in Dagenham, east London, to murder him in front of screaming children.
Tyler had uploaded a drill track to YouTube of him celebrating the stabbing of member of a the ‘Dag 109’ gang.
He was about to board the 173 in Dagenham 20 minutes after leaving school in his uniform, on 14 March 2022, when he was spotted by Tanueh, who was already on the bus.
Carlton Tanueh (pictured), 19, was given a minimum of 26 years in jail for the murder of Tyler Hurley, 16
Tyler had earlier uploaded a drill track to YouTube celebrating the stabbing of a member of the ‘Dag 109’ gang
Tyler was stabbed to death with one of two Zombie knives Tanueh was carrying.
Tanueh denied murder, claiming he was on his way to buy a bagel and was carrying the knives in case he was attacked.
But he was convicted by a jury at Southwark crown court who deliberated for only one hour.
Tyler’s mother Veronica Hurley told the court in an impact statement: ‘Since losing my son Tyler Hurley, my whole life has felt like it’s stopped in time.
‘I have not slept through the night since I lost Tyler, I have changed by whole life now to protect Tyler’s twin James.
‘My children are my life.’
Judge Deborah Taylor sentenced Tanueh to life detention and ordered he serve at least 26 years before he can be considered for parole.
Tyler was stabbed to death with one of two Zombie knives Tanueh was carrying (pictured)
Tyler was stabbed to death with one of two Zombie knives Tanueh was carrying
She said: ‘You stabbed Tyler against a background of gang activity and retaliation of what was seen as disrespectful lyrics of your associates to a gang in Dagenham
‘Whilst not all drill lyrics are factual, I’m sure because of the timing and background that the lyrics found on your phone show a gang affiliation and your motive and intention
‘Tyler never deserved to die. He was just 16’: Heartbroken family pay tribute to schoolboy whose life was ‘cruelly stolen’
Tyler’s mum Veronica said: ‘Since losing my son Tyler Hurley my whole life feels like it has stopped in time. I have not slept through the night since I lost Tyler. This Christmas will not be the same without him.
‘I have changed my whole way of life now to protect my other children. I feel that I cannot let them go out of my sight in case something happens to them.
‘In my mind I can’t believe that I have to live my life without my Tyler. When I contracted Covid for the first time, it was Tyler who made me dinners and would leave them outside my bedroom door as I didn’t want any of the children to be exposed to the virus.
‘Every morning I would wake up and think that it was just a bad nightmare but then the realisation that Tyler has gone comes to the forefront of my mind.’
Tyler’s older sister Mia said: ‘Tyler never deserved to die. He was 16. Just 16. With the opportunity to learn from his mistakes and grow into the amazing young man he was becoming, cruelly stolen from him.
‘Tyler, you were the heart and soul of our family. You were and will forever be my biggest champion, there just aren’t enough words to describe how proud of you, I really am. You achieved so much in such a short space of time, from never losing a boxing fight to showing consistent pure dedication and unconditional loyalty.
‘You are one of a kind Tyler, and I promised you, the day I held your hand for the last time, that I would never stop telling the world, how amazing you truly are, inside and out. There aren’t many hearts like yours Ty.’
‘The loss of Tyler Hurley, much loved by his family, is immeasurable and permanent
‘He had a career ahead of him that was cut short by his death
‘Although it was a single wound it was inflicted by sufficient force that caused it to go deep into the body, 24cm deep.
‘It was in public, in a crowded bus where you were in close proximity to members of the public including small children
‘In the course of this trial there was little evidence of real remorse.
‘There is only one sentence I can pass, namely a sentence of life imprisonment’
Relatives of the victim including his mother wept in court as the killer was sentenced.
Tanueh showed no trace of emotion as he was sentenced.
Prosecutor Caroline Carberry earlier told how Tyler had just left the The Warren School in Romford, where he was a year 11 pupil.
Tanueh had first boarded the 173 bus on Chequers Lane at approximately 3pm that afternoon.
He got off at Dagenham where he sent a Snapchat photo to an unknown contact that said ‘hopped off at Heathway, had to ‘go check some yutes.’
Ms Carberry said: ‘As Tyler Hurley and his friend went to board that same bus via the front door on Chadwell Heath High Road, after school, this defendant exited through the middle doors of the bus.
‘He saw the two boys and he got off the bus to confront them.’
On the pavement he withdrew one of his knives and pursued Tyler and his friend on to the bus.
‘The friend, who was in front, managed to escape back onto the pavement through the middle doors as they were closing,’ the prosecutor said.
‘Tyler was unable to leave as the doors had closed, trapping him on the back of the bus.
‘As Tyler moved towards the back of the bus to get away, this defendant thrust one his large knives twice at Tyler’s body.
‘The force of the fatal stab was enough to send this defendants blade through the back of Tyler’s arm into his armpit and approximately 24 centimetres into his chest.
‘It perforated a major artery in the arm, and it pierced his lung. Tyler’s injuries were unsurvivable.’
The victim collapsed, groaning: ‘I’ve been stabbed, call an ambulance.’
Tyler was taken to hospital but later died in the early hours of 15 March.
Tanueh told the court he was only on the bus because he was nipping down to Peckham for a bagel.
He said he saw Tyler outside the bus and got off to try and get away.
‘I didn’t want confrontation, if I stayed on the bus, he would try to attack me.
‘I was just waving the knife at him.’
But jurors heard Tanueh was obsessed with knives and had taken a Snapchat photo of the murder weapon captioned ‘new ting.’
It was bought and paid for by Tanueh’s girlfriend in January through a UK based website and delivered to her east London home in February.
He also has a previous conviction for possession of a Zombie knife.
Summing up the case Judge Deborah Taylor said: ‘The defence say he was not lunging with the knife but only waving it to scare him.
‘[You have heard] the defendant say he was scared of Tyler Hurley… that he did this for his own protection and because he is obsessed with knives
‘There is no dispute that the stab wound caused Tyler Hurley’s death.’
Tanueh of Third Avenue, Dagenham, denied murder but was convicted by the jury.