Boy, 15, jailed for life for fatally stabbing Chingford father-of-three Jamie Markham

Undated handout photo issued by the Metropolitan Police of James Markham (PA)
Undated handout photo issued by the Metropolitan Police of James Markham (PA)

A 15-year-old boy has been detained for life for the murder of father-of-three Jamie Markham in a row over anti-social behaviour.

James Markham, 45, was attacked after confronting a group of teenagers at the back of his home in Chingford, east London, when “exasperated” with shouting and swearing.

The stonemason brandished a drill bit in a bid to scare them off, but in return the boy – then 14 – stabbed Mr Markham three times, including a fatal wound to his back.

Mr Markham was helped by an eyewitness and his family, but died at the scene shortly after the attack on August 9 last year, the Old Bailey heard.

At a hearing on Friday, the teenage killer was sentenced to detention for life by Judge John Hillen and must serve at least 15 years behind bars before being considered for release.

“Your unhealthy interest in knives, antisocial behaviour and violence against those who challenged you all came together on Chingford Mount on August 9 last year”, the judge told the boy.

“You had not responded to attempts to divert you away from crime and antisocial behaviour.

“You regularly went missing. You have a low attendance record at school. Your foster parents could not prevent your behaviour.

“You were out of control.”

In contrast, he said Mr Markham was “a hard-working stonemason with his own business who worked hard to support and bring up his family”.

Confronting the boy in court over the “wicked” murder, Mr Markham’s mother Anita said: “You had nothing to say, not even ‘sorry, I did not mean it to happen’.

“You could not say it was an accident as you stabbed him three times.

“Taking my son’s life has broken me.”

Mr Markham’s sister Lisa Sawyer said: “I did not think things like this happened to normal people.”

Of the boy, she said: “You were not even man enough to tell the truth and say sorry.”

Police had identified the killer as he accidentally dropped his phone during the stabbing, but the large knife used to murder Mr Markham has never been recovered.

"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”, said Detective Inspector John Marriot, from the Met’s Specialist Crime unit.

"The teenager in this incident was subject to a Criminal Behaviour Order and should never have been in the area. He had flouted it on a number of occasions.

"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 spend a substantial amount of time behind bars.”

The stabbing happened at around 6pm, when Mr Markham was smoking in a car park close to his home in Chingford Mount.

The area had become a hotspot for anti-social behaviour, and the teenager had been banned under a Criminal Behaviour Order from entering the area.

At the time of the murder, he had already breached the order six times and was awaiting a court sentencing hearing for his behaviour.

An eyewitness, Stuart Cole, saw the teen and a friend “goading” Mr Markham, the court heard, and the father swung the drill bit he was holding in the air without making contact.

The killer then pulled out a knife, described as being 18 inches long, and stabbed Mr Markham in the chest, neck, and back.

Mr Cole heard the killer – moments before the stabbing – say: “It’s alright mate, he’s going to get it”.

The teenager denied murder, arguing he was acting in self-defence, but was convicted by a jury after a trial which concluded in July.

He must serve at least 15 years in youth detention and then prison before being considered for release.