Killer stabbed man to death because he wrongly thought he was meeting girl

A 17-year-old has been sentenced to a minimum of 14 years and seven months in detention for the murder of a man he wrongly believed had arranged to meet a teenage girl.

Joshua Boardman attacked 28-year-old Hiwa Ali Khani as he sat in his car in Preston, on July 8.

On Wednesday, Preston Crown Court heard Boardman had intended to target Stuart Thornton, who had been parked behind Mr Ali-Khani until 40 seconds before Boardman arrived at the scene.

David McLachlan KC, prosecuting, said the day before the murder, Mr Thornton, aged 35, had pulled over his car to speak to a 15-year-old girl, who he later told police he thought was “pretty” and who told him she was 16.

Mr Thornton and the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, exchanged numbers and the following day sent messages arranging to meet, which the court heard were read by Boardman.

Sentencing him, Honorary Recorder of Preston Judge Robert Altham said: “In reality, the defendant intended he would be the person who met and then confronted Mr Thornton.”

He described the case as “particularly tragic”.

He added: “This attack was carried out in the street, in broad daylight on a summer’s day when members of the public, including children, effectively had to stand and witness a murder.”

Shortly after 6pm, footage showed Mr Thornton parking behind Mr Ali-Khani’s car on Raikes Road.

The court he sent a message to the girl saying: “Hiya I’m there now xx.”

Mr McLachlan said: “Mr Ali-Khani had no connection whatsoever to Stuart Thornton, nor to Joshua Boardman and his group.

“He was simply a man who had been to work and was very shortly about to get into his car.”

He said Mr Ali Khani got into his car shortly before Mr Thornton drove away.

CCTV footage showed Boardman, who had taken cocaine in the hour before the attack, approach and get into the passenger side of Mr Ali Khani’s car.

The court heard Mr Ali-Khani was stabbed in the leg and then got out of the car and ran towards the passenger side of the car.

He was stabbed twice more by Boardman, including fatally to the chest, as they wrestled in the street.

Members of his family became emotional as video of the incident was shown in court.

Towards the end of the video, a female voice could be heard saying: “It’s not even him.”

Mr McLachlan said Mr Thornton returned to the area and witnessed the stabbing.

He did not realise he was the intended target until he rang the girl about 20 minutes after the attack and Boardman answered, telling him: ” You see that, that was meant for you.”

The court heard less than an hour after the stabbing Boardman, who ran from the scene, stopped a police officer and told him: “You need to arrest me, I’ve just stabbed someone.”

The judge said the defendant had a “disruptive childhood” and was “particularly sensitive to those around him allegedly suffering sexual abuse”.

But, he said the aggravating features outweighed the mitigating features of the case.

Imran Shafi KC, defending, said: “It seems an absolute catalogue of tragedies that conspired together that resulted in the loss of this young man’s life.”

He added: “I would submit in this case there is genuine sorrow, there is genuine remorse, there is genuine self-revulsion at his actions.”

Reporting restrictions preventing the publication of Boardman’s identity were lifted by the judge on Wednesday.