Teenager found GUILTY of murdering James Brindley in Walsall
A teenager has been found guilty of murdering gym instructor James Brindley during a 35-second random act of violence in a park.
The 17-year-old wept after the jury delivered the verdict this afternoon over the Aldridge killing.
His co-accused, 21-year-old Aaron Kahrod, has walked free after being cleared of both murder and manslaughter.
Mr Brindley, 26, was stabbed to death by the Croft park on Little Aston Road as he walked home from a night out on June 23 last year.
The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was due to be sentenced tomorrow and Judge Patrick Thomas QC said he would have 'no choice but to detain him at Her Majesty's pleasure’.
The teen had his head bowed as the verdict was delivered and sobbed as the realisation set in he was heading for a long stretch behind bars.
The defendant's mother, watching on from the public gallery, was heard to weep 'they got it wrong' as she collapsed in dramatic scenes at Birmingham Crown Court.
The unanimous verdicts were announced following a two-week trial. The jury of five men and two women deliberated for just five hours.
The Brindley family held hands quietly in the public gallery during the sentencing.
The youth found guilty of murdering Mr Brindley claimed he had stabbed the gym instructor in self defence after he made a racist comment and advanced towards him.
But a jury rejected the teen's versions of events and convicted him around 2.30pm.
The court had heard how the youth had been 'looking for trouble' on the night Mr Brindley was killed and had confronted him 'with some criminal purpose in mind'.
He was accused of cynically lying to the court, changing his story to counter each new piece of evidence against him.
The court heard earlier how the murder victim had been on the phone to his girlfriend Lauren Wong when the attack happened.
He told her he had been stabbed and was phoning an ambulance.
Meanwhile she desperately tried to reach him via WhatsApp, messaging him four times: “Please tell me you’re okay. You need me to phone your parents? I’m scared to phone back. Have you phoned an ambulance?”
When Manchester-based Ms Wong rang back, a passer-by answered, telling her Mr Brindley had been stabbed.