A youth has been convicted of murdering a budding male model and entrepreneur as he walked home from a night out.
Victim James Brindley was knifed in the heart 430 yards from his parents’ home in Aldridge, West Midlands, before messaging his girlfriend: “I’ve just been stabbed.”
The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had denied murder but was unanimously convicted by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court on Thursday.
Judge Patrick Thomas QC told the youth he would be sentenced on Friday, adding: “The only sentence I can pass is detention at Her Majesty’s pleasure.”
A 21-year-old man also on trial for the murder was found not guilty by the jury.
The youth admitted to teasing 26-year-old Mr Brindley “about his girl”, in a conversation covertly recorded by police, claiming the victim fell on his knife during the attack before trying to cover up his involvement.
But the jury rejected his account, with the verdicts triggering emotional scenes in the packed courtroom with the mother of the guilty youngster collapsing as she left court.
Opening the trial, prosecutor Jonas Hankin QC said witnesses had seen shoving and the youth pushed two arms towards Mr Brindley’s chest, forcing him to stagger backwards.
James Brindley, 26, who was stabbed in the heart as he walked home in June, last year, had been preparing to set up his own business.
The fatal wound was inflicted in a 35-second gap between two phone calls Mr Brindley had with his girlfriend, Lauren, at 11.42pm, on June 23, last year.
In the moments after the incident, Lauren messaged Mr Brindley saying: “James? Please tell me you’re OK. You need me to phone your parents? I’m scared to phone back, have you phoned an ambulance?”
This came after Mr Brindley sent her WhatsApp messages, telling her: “I’ve just been stabbed. Two secs, I’m calling an ambulance.”
Mr Hankin told the jury: “Following the stabbing, the 17-year-old’s first thought was to immediately dispose of evidence.”
Despite claims by the pair that Mr Brindley had first come at his attackers, witnesses told a different story.
After the stabbing, passers-by tried tried to save the young man , while medics carried out emergency open-heart surgery on the pavement.
However, Mr Brindley died at 1.05am, the following morning.