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A teenager has been convicted of murdering dad-of-four James Gibbons in an attack outside his home in Laindon.
Mr Gibbons, 34, was stabbed four times in Iris Mews at around 9.30pm on Sunday May 2. He had been holding a birthday party for his two young daughters.
James was stabbed four times by the teenager in an alleyway off Iris Mews after he had defended a man being abused by a group of young people.
A 16-year-old boy from Laindon was arrested and charged with his murder.
The teenager claimed he had brought a knife to the scene to protect himself against James, but the prosecution discredited this defence and he was today found guilty of murder at Chelmsford Crown Court after a five-week trial.
He will be sentenced on a date yet to be fixed, at least four weeks from today.
In the hours after the murder, the teenager admitted to the stabbing in a message in a Snapchat group, adding: “I don’t care, I’m a psychopath”.
He added: “I’ve just M someone off and that,” before finishing the conversation saying: “I might as well go and kill everyone else I don’t like”.
Speaking after the jury returned its verdict, Senior Investigating Officer DCI Louise Metcalfe, said: “Today I am proud to say that we have achieved justice for James and for his family. My team have worked tirelessly on this investigation.
“However, I know today’s verdict is little consolation for the loss of a beloved dad, partner, son, brother and uncle and nothing can bring James back.
“And more than anything, today our thoughts are with James’ family. They have carried themselves with dignity throughout the investigation and throughout the trial.
“The teenager convicted of murder used a variety of excuses to aid his defence, including claiming that he was scared of James so had brought a knife to the scene for his own protection.
“James was not the aggressor. He had tragically become involved in a confrontation while defending another man and lost his life. That day, he had simply been celebrating his twin daughters’ birthday with friends and family.
“Today is not a day to celebrate but I do hope this verdict provides some comfort to James’ family and they begin to move forward after their tragic loss.”
All of James’ family want to thank all those who were involved with this case.
First of all to the neighbours of James. To the police officers who were first on the scene. To the paramedics and ambulance crew. I know you all tried your hardest to save James’ life that night. We now know that there was nothing that could be done to save him.
To the Essex Police investigation team, of which there were many officers who worked quickly and tirelessly in getting the evidence and witnesses together.
To the prosecution team, for the hard work and hours you have put in to ensure that justice has been done today.
To our liaison officers, who have been our support and contact throughout this devastating time.
And to victim support, we thank you all.
James was a loving son, a devoted father to his four children, a protective brother, uncle, cousin and a perfect partner and soul mate to his fiancée, Victoria.
James was a grafter, a real hard working man, who wanted nothing else but to provide for his family. He, Vicky and their children had their whole future to look forward to. Unfortunately, this has been taken from them.
James did not like bullies, and he would always be the one who would protect and look out for vulnerable people.
We are proud of him; he is our hero.
We have set up Facebook and Instagram pages, called justice4jamesg
We have set up these accounts in the hope that they will raise awareness and support others affected by knife crime and we urge the public to follow these pages to support our campaign.
And now it is time for us as a family to begin our grieving process, and finally lay James to rest in peace.