Police have welcomed the sentencing of a 15-year-old boy has been jailed for the murder of 45-year-old father of three James Markham, in Chingford in north-east London, with the lead officer in the case paying tribute to the “skill and determination” of his offiers. The teen, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared at the Old Bailey today, where he was handed a life sentence, detention during His Majesty’s Pleasure due to his age, with a minimum term of 15 years.
Judge John Hillen refused an application to lift reporting restiction in respect of the defendant.
The boy, who was aged 14 at the time of the offence, was convicted on Friday, July 8 after trial.
He was also found guilty of possession of an offensive weapon.
Police were called to Churchill Terrace at 6.20pm on Monday, August 9 after reports of a disturbance.
On arrival, they discoverd James suffering from serious injures.
Officers administered first aid but despite their best efforts, and that of emergency paramedics and members of the public, James died at the scene.
Detectives from Specialist Crime were alerted and immediately opened an investigation.
It was established that James, who worked as a stone mason, had returned home just before 6pm and had been in a shed area behind the block of flats where he lived.
A group of youths were also in the area and James had become involved in a verbal altercation with them.
The area had become a spot for anti-social behaviour and James had been irriated by the teenagers.
A member of James’s family saw a dispute but her view was restricted and she had not realised it was James who the teenagers were arguing with.
James had approached the group with a drill bit in an apparent attempt to scare them off.
However, one of the group advanced, armed with a knife, and the pair began swinging at each other.
James was struck three times – in the back, armpit and chest. The final injury, which pierced his lung, proved to be the killer blow.
A member of the public who had tried to intervene then came to James’s aid as the teenager and the rest of the group fled the scene.
James’s desperate family rushed down from their home to try to help him.
The teenager had dropped his mobile phone as he ran away and was rapidly identified.
He was arrested on suspicion of murder two days later and made no comment in police interviews.
Detective Inspector John Marriott, Specialist Crime, said: “James was a loving family man who leaves behind a partner and three children.
“That day they were met with a horrific scenario that no family should have to endure. I hope this conviction will provide them with a small measure of comfort as they continue to grieve James.
Det Insp Marriott added: “”The teenager in this incident was subject to a Criminal Behaviour Order that he had flouted on a number of occasions and should never have been in the area.
“The knife he used was never recovered, indicating he went to some lengths to try to distance himself from this horrific crime.
“But my team worked to collate a wealth of witness, CCTV and forensic evidence proving his guilt. He will now, quite rightly, spend a substantial amount of time behind bars.
“I’d like to thank the skill and determination of my team in working to deliver justice to James’s family. My thoughts are with them today.”