James Brindley: Murder suspects were 'looking for trouble' when gym instructor was stabbed to death, trial hears

By Marion Brennan | Aldridge | News | Published:

Two suspects accused of murdering gym instructor James Brindley were 'looking for trouble armed with knives', a jury were told.

James Brindley

Mr Jonas Hankin, QC said that the 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and Aaron Kahrod, 21, both confronted Mr Brindley 'with some criminal purpose in mind.'

He accused the teenager of cynically lying to the court, changing his story to counter each new piece of evidence against them, and he charged Kahrod with 'encouraging and supporting' the younger defendant at every step.

The youth claimed he stabbed Mr Brindley by the Croft park in Aldridge on June 23 last year in self-defence. He claimed he made a joke that angered the 26-year-old who then allegedly made a racist comment and advanced on him.

More from the murder trial of James Brindley:

He said it was only then that he took a kitchen knife out of a manbag he was carrying and 'accidentally' stabbed Mr Brindley when the latter 'ran on to' the blade.

Kahrod, of Walsall Road, Aldridge, denies ‘playing any unlawful part in the incident' and has declined to give evidence at the trial. Both plead not guilty to murder.

But summing up the prosecution on the ninth day of the hearing, Mr Hankin drew the jury's attention to changes in the teenager's defence.


"In his original statement, there was no reference to self-defence, or to producing a knife to defend himself, that is because none of that was true.

"In his original version he said James Brindley was the aggressor, making no reference to the joke that was said to be the start of this incident. It's a wholesale change."

Initially the youth told police that he used a knife dropped by Mr Brindley in the tussle. Mr Hankin said: "It was all utter rubbish used to maximise his opportunity to look like the traumatised victim of an assault by James Brindley."

Inconsistency and lies


The prosecutor invited the jury to consider a secret recording of a 'confession' made by the 17-year-old in conversation with a family member whilst in custody, in which he was heard saying 'We both had knives' and 'If we both say the truth, we're both going to get done.'

Mr Hankin said the recording was 'powerful evidence' implicating Kahrod in the murder, which the prosecution say was a joint enterprise.

"When people confess in circumstances that have not been forced, the reliability of that evidence is usually very high," he said, adding that the teenager had shown nothing but contempt for the court and for Mr Brindley. He said his evidence was marked by inconsistency and lies.

Finding Kahrod guilty of murder was 'more difficult' to prove, said Mr Hankin said argued that both defendants had knives, wore hoods, both moved towards Mr Brindley with Kahrod heard to shout 'Come on then'. He 'encouraged and supported' the teenager in the attack and the pair both ran off together afterwards, neither stopping to help Mr Brindley.

The jury is expected to be sent out to consider its verdict later today.

Marion Brennan

By Marion Brennan

News and features reporter, specialising in human interest and local history stories.


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