Life detention order for 15-year-old boy who fatally stabbed father of three

Jamie Markham was attacked by the youngster, who was then 14, last year.

Floral tributes at the scene in Churchill Terrace, Chingford, east London, after 45-year-old James Markham was stabbed to death (Laura Parnaby/PA)
Floral tributes at the scene in Churchill Terrace, Chingford, east London, after 45-year-old James Markham was stabbed to death (Laura Parnaby/PA)

A 15-year-old boy has been detained for life for fatally stabbing a father of three outside his home.

The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was aged just 14 and subject to an antisocial behaviour order (Asbo) when he attack 45-year-old Jamie Markham, in Chingford, east London, on August 9 last year.

Now aged 15, he was described in court as an “obnoxious teenage trouble maker” who had already breached his Asbo six times before fatally stabbing hard working family man Mr Markham with an 18in knife.

The youth claimed to have acted in self defence but was found guilty of murder and having an offensive weapon following a trial at the Old Bailey in July.

Stabbing in Chingford
James Markham (Metropolitan Police/PA)

On Friday, Judge John Hillen ordered the boy to be detained for life with a minimum term of 15 years.

The judge described Mr Markham as “a hard-working stonemason with his own business who worked hard to support and bring up his family”.

By contrast, the defendant’s behaviour leading up to the murder was increasingly worrying.

Chingford murder youth court case
Anita Markham, the mother of murder victim James Markham (James Manning/PA)

The judge told the boy: “You had not responded to attempts to divert you away from crime and antisocial behaviour.

“You regularly went missing.

“You have a low attendance record at school.

“Your foster parents could not prevent your behaviour.

“You were out of control.”

He went on: “Your unhealthy interest in knives, antisocial behaviour and violence against those who challenged you all came together on Chingford Mount on August 9 last year.”

Earlier, Mr Markham’s mother Anita described the impact of the “wicked” murder on them and the wider community.

Addressing the defendant, she said: “On August 9 2021 you stabbed my son Jamie Markham three times and murdered him.

“You had nothing to say, not even ‘sorry, I did not mean it to happen’.

“You could not say it was an accident as you stabbed him three times.

“Taking my son’s life has broken me.

“Jamie is in my thoughts all the time, seeing him lying there knowing I could not patch him up like when he was a kid.

“Wanting so much to help him, bring him back to us.

“You can never replace a child.

“When Candice (Mr Markham’s partner) phoned and told me Jamie had been stabbed I had never thought that would be it and I would never be able to give him a hug and a kiss.”

Sister Lisa Sawyer said: “I did not think things like this happened to normal people.”

Of the boy, she said: “You were not even man enough to tell the truth and say sorry.”

The victim’s niece Amber added: “I was so angry that something like this had happened to us.

“I could not understand why someone could be so selfish as to take my uncle’s life.”

Previously, Crispin Aylett KC had told jurors that the defendant should never have been in the area of Chingford Mount at all on the day of the stabbing.

He said: “It is only too obvious that he cannot have thought that the criminal behaviour order was worth the paper it was written on.

“Just as he was not willing to abide by the terms of the order, so the evidence in this case suggests he was not someone who was prepared to let anyone tell him what to do.”

On August 9 last year, the boy and four friends went into an area behind shops near where Mr Markham lived with his family.

Chingford murder youth court case
Amber Markham, the niece of murder victim James Markham (James Manning/PA)

Mr Aylett had told jurors the victim and his family had become “increasingly exasperated” by groups of youths making a nuisance of themselves there.

A row broke out and two youths were said to have goaded Mr Markham before the defendant told a witness: “It’s alright mate. He’s going to get it.”

Mr Aylett said: “Provoked beyond endurance, there must have come a point when Jamie Markham wanted to chase this obnoxious youth away from the area where he and his family lived – and, no doubt, make sure that he did not come back.”

The stonemason armed with a drill bit from his shed ran at the boy, swinging the tool to scare him off, jurors were told.

But the boy produced an 18-inch long blade and stabbed him in the armpit, neck and back before running away.

Mr Markham was helped back to his flat where he collapsed and died.

The defendant had dropped his mobile phone during the fight and it was later used by police to track him down.

Mr Aylett said the boy had a “miserable” criminal record, having been in court 12 times and convicted of 22 different offences.

The first was in June 2020 when aged 13 he pleaded guilty to battery and convicted of possessing cannabis and was handed a rehabilitation order.

In January 2021, he was convicted of theft, criminal damage and using threatening words and behaviour and subjected to a rehabilitation order and criminal behaviour order banning him from the Chingford Mount area

He breached that order six times with the day of the murder the seventh breach.

In mitigation, Laurie-Anne Power KC said the boy had been affected by a lack of family presence or support as well as “neglect, abuse and feelings of trauma and loss”.

She said her client offered “sincere regret for his actions”.

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