Sunday 26 January 2020

Sadistic teenager mouths 'I don't give a s**t' as he's jailed for 27 years for stabbing two strangers to death

James Fairweather was 15-years-old when he terrorised a local community by carrying out horrific random attacks on James Attfield and Nahid Almanea. Photo: Essex Police/PA Wire
James Fairweather was 15-years-old when he terrorised a local community by carrying out horrific random attacks on James Attfield and Nahid Almanea. Photo: Essex Police/PA Wire

A sadistic teenager mouthed "I don't give a s**t" as he was locked up for at least 27 years for stabbing two strangers to death.

James Fairweather was trying to be like his idols - the Yorkshire Ripper and Ted Bundy - when he murdered disabled James Attfield and petite student Nahid Almanea.

He was just 15 years old when he carried out the random attacks, striking fear and terror in a local community over 14 months.

Despite claiming he was possessed by the devil, he was found guilty of the murders and was sentenced at the Old Bailey.

Mr Justice Spencer said Fairweather had "relished" the effect his brutal and sadistic killings had on the residents of Colchester in Essex.

Inspired by notorious serial killers, he sneaked out of home at night to stab 33-year-old Mr Attfield 102 times as he lay drunk and helpless in a park in March 2014.

Fairweather carried out the attack just three days after he had been handed a referral order for a knifepoint robbery on a shopkeeper.

Amid the resulting "pervasive climate of fear", he then went on to seek out a second vulnerable victim - 5ft tall Essex University student Miss Almanea.

The judge told him: "You were well aware of the publicity this first murder attracted. I have no doubt you relished the sense of power and control that it gave you."

Miss Almanea, 31, was attacked with a bayonet and stabbed in both eyes as she walked alone along the Salary Brook nature trail in broad daylight.

Fairweather had "deliberately" knocked her sunglasses off to maim her eyes as Peter Sutcliffe had done to one of his victims.

Mr Justice Spencer said: "I have no doubt the way James Attfield screamed in pain when he was stabbed through the eye had remained with you and excited you."

Fairweather was prowling the same area for a third victim when police finally stopped his killing spree in its tracks in May last year.

At the time of his arrest, he was wearing gloves and armed with a lock knife.

He was "turned on" by serial killers and researched Ian Huntley, Myra Hindley and Yorkshire Ripper Sutcliffe, of whom he had a picture on his phone.

Bundy, who was his favourite serial killer, sexually assaulted, murdered and decapitated his victims.

Fairweather, who has autism, had been playing violent computer games Call Of Duty and Grand Theft Auto since he was 13 years old.

And he had a stash of horror films including Wrong Turn: The Carnage Collection, a DVD about Sutcliffe and a book called The World's Worst Crimes.

After he killed, he obsessively looked up press coverage of the murders on the internet.

He admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, claiming he heard voices that compelled him to kill.

But the 17-year-old was convicted of murder after an expert told his trial that his description of the hallucinations sounded like something plucked from a horror film.

Following his conviction, Mr Attfield's mother, Julie Finch, had said: "James Fairweather is a monster in our eyes - and we will never be able to forgive him."

In a victim impact statement she told how she could not work as a result of her son's brutal death and was forced to sell her house.

As the case drew to a close, she said the family would now have to get used to life without him and remember him as the "fun-loving practical joker that he was".

The father-of-four had suffered brain damage in a car crash in 2010 and was living in semi-sheltered accommodation.

Miss Almanea's brother, Raed Almanea, who was also at Essex University, described in a statement his feelings of personal blame at not being able to save her.

On the day of her murder, he said: "I was full of optimism but came back in the evening full of grief and sorrow."

He said his sister was robbed of the right to get married and be a mother to her own children.

District Commander Chief Inspector Richard Phillibrown said the community as a whole had been affected by the killings and police had spent £2.6 million on the investigation and public reassurance.

Some 3,000 personal attack alarms were issued to people who felt vulnerable and a large number of extra officers were drafted in to the area.

Fairweather made no reaction throughout the hearing, but mouthed to his parents in court as he was sent down.

Mr Attfield's 52-year-old mother and sister Ashlee Waller, 20, and Jo Robinson, 31, appeared tearful as they left court.

Outside, they stood side by side with Essex Police Assistant Chief Constable Steve Worron who said residents could now "rest easy".

He said: "The sentence given to James Fairweather today reflects the distress caused to Jim Attfield and Nahid Almanea's families and the wider impact to the local community."

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