Teenage murderer of Laindon dad named after restrictions lifted

Mick Ferris
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The family of a man who was stabbed to death outside his home has thanked Essex Police detectives for delivering justice as his teenage killer was sentenced to a minimum term of 13 years in detention.

James Gibbons, known as ‘Gibbo’, was stabbed four times outside his home in Iris Mews, in Laindon, on Sunday May 2.

The teenager claimed he had brought a knife to the scene to protect himself against Mr Gibbons after an earlier confrontation, but the prosecution discredited this defence and he was found guilty of murder at Chelmsford Crown Court after a five-week trial.

Today, Friday December 3, 16-year-old Joshuah Sparks, of Armada Close, in Laindon, appeared at the same court and was sentenced to 13 years in detention.

He can now be named after a restriction on naming him was lifted by the Honourable Mr Justice Bourne, who made the decision citing the principle of open justice.

James’ partner Vicky Billingham said: “Firstly we would like to thank Essex Police for their extremely quick and effective action on the night this happened. Without them we wouldn’t have the justice that has been served, and that we as a family needed.

“Secondly, I would like to thank our prosecution team for everything they have done and how they supported us through this situation.

“No amount of time that the defendant gets would seem enough for us, as we will be mourning James for the rest of our lives, my children in particular will now have to live a very different future then they deserve.

“However, I am so thankful that the system worked for us, and we got justice for our beloved James.

“For me personally, it means that I can tell my children that the person who hurt their daddy was locked up for a very long time, and that is what happens when you break the law.”

Senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Louise Metcalfe, led the case against Sparks.

She said: “Today, James’ family have seen justice served. The person responsible for the death of a much-loved dad, partner, son and brother is now going to serve an appropriate sentence.

“He has never shown any remorse for cruelly taking James’ life. Not only that, Sparks’ actions mean James’ family are facing a first Christmas without him there.

“I am proud of the work my investigation team has carried out in this case. From the moment the first call came into our control room, every single member of the team worked with a single-minded focus of catching the person responsible, putting them before the courts and ultimately securing a conviction and an appropriate sentence. Today, we have achieved that.”

She added: “However, my thoughts today are entirely with James’ family and friends who have conducted themselves with incredible dignity throughout this whole investigation.

“Nothing will bring James back, but I hope today brings his family and friends some comfort.”


Mick Ferris

Editor Email: mickferris@yellowad.co.uk