Essex

Teenager convicted of two murders in Colchester

22/04/2016

A teenager who was only 15 when he stabbed two strangers to death in Colchester in 2014 has been convicted today at Guildford Crown Court of their murder. James Fairweather had previously admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Paul Scothern, head of CPS East of Englands Complex Casework Unit said: "This was a shocking case, particularly because of the young age of the defendant at the time and because the brutal attacks he carried out were entirely random.

"He did not know either James Attfield or Nahid Almanea, the victims did not know each other and the defendant had absolutely no reason to attack them."

Mr Attfield was found about 6am on 29 March 2014 in a park in Colchester; he had received more than 100 stab wounds during a savage assault and died shortly after being found.

In Ms Almanea's case the attack was in broad daylight in June 2014 about 10.30am near the University of Essex where she was a student.

Mr Scothern said: "James Fairweather claimed voices and hallucinations compelled him to carry out attacks and he admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but denied murder. His claims were at the heart of the trial as the prosecution did not accept this was the case.

"We presented expert medical evidence to the jury that his claims were an attempt to deceive those who examined him, to literally get away with murder.

"Our evidence was that he was in control at the time, he knew what he was doing, he prepared for the killings by arming himself with a knife and gloves, and he took steps afterwards to conceal what he had done.

"Our thoughts are with the families of the victims at this time."