James Brindley murder: Teenage killer faces 17 years behind bars
A teenager who murdered fitness instructor James Brindley after stabbing him in the heart as he made his way home from a night out has been sentenced to at least 17 years behind bars.
Judge Patrick Thomas QC told Ammar Kahrod, a 17 year-old student, he was responsible for the death of a ‘totally innocent and unsuspecting young man’ who died because Kahrod was carrying a knife.
The court, police and public were ‘deeply concerned’ at the growing trend among young men and boys for carrying knives which could be used over a misunderstood word, a moment of anger or a perceived threat. “And once the knife is out anything can happen,” he said
Reporting restrictions were lifted allowing the naming of Kahrod, who has enjoyed anonymity during the two-week trial due to his age.
He was convicted yesterday of the murder of Mr Brindley by a unanimous verdict and today given a life sentence, with a minimum term of 17 years. His brother, Aaron Kahrod, 21, was acquitted.
Budding businessman James Brindley was on his way home on June 23 last year after meeting friends in Aldridge when he was attacked.
The popular 26-year-old, who had drank only water at the pub, left to take a call from his girlfriend and decided to return home.
He was still on the phone at 11.42pm when he encountered the Kahrod brothers in Little Aston Road, at the entrance to The Croft park.
Ammar Kahrod claimed the victim was the aggressor but the judge rejected his claim, accusing him of lying throughout the trial.
Four schoolboys saw him back away from the confrontation, holding his arm up to try and calm the situation.
But in the 35-second gap before calling his girlfriend back, Mr Brindley was stabbed, so forcefully that the knife passed through his breast bone before piercing his heart. His attackers fled the scene while Mr Brindley ran back to the High Street before collapsing.
His sister Charlotte, 22, and father Mark spoke movingly to the court about the impact of his death and of not being beside him in his final moments as medics performed open heart surgery in the street, calling ‘we love you James’ from behind the police tape.
Charlotte said she was ‘tormented on a daily basis’ that she could not do anything to help her beloved brother in his final moments.
Describing him as her ‘best friend, confidant and motivator’, she said what should have been an exciting time in her final year at university was now ‘excruciating’ but she was seeing it through because her brother would have wanted it.
She spoke of the wider effect of losing him had had on the Aldridge community ‘both young and old’ and, at closer quarters, of the struggle to cope of a 12-year-old cousin who had missed time off school due to his grief.
“These people have destroyed everything,” she said, adding the prospect of a future without him knowing her potential children was ‘devastating’.
As she returned to the public gallery, her distraught mother Beverly gestured to the Kahrod family, saying: “That’s all absolutely true. You need to know that, all of you.”
Company director Mark Brindley, 57, said: “James’ life has been taken from him in the most calculated, cold-hearted and cowardly manner, and at no point have the defendants shown any humility or remorse whatsoever.
“This callousness is beyond our comprehension. We are serving our own life sentence from which there is no release.”
Sentencing him, Judge Thomas said: “This is a terrible tale, and all because a young man chose to carry a knife.”
He told Kahrod he came from a strong and loving family and did not have the excuse of being ill-treated as he grew up and in fact had a promising future.
Judge Thomas told him: “Only you and your brother know what happened at the scene where James Brindley met his death.
"Your brother has said nothing, which is his right. You have lied and lied again.
"Your level of maturity does not match your intelligence. That may go some way to explain, but of course does not begin to excuse what you did that night.”