Jurors have found a man guilty of murder in Northfleet after he stabbed his rival seven times in a row with “tragic consequences.”
Harry Harris, 29, claimed he had acted in self defence, spinning a web of lies to police and the court, but was found guilty of murdering 44-year-old James Webb on Monday, January 11.
Detective Inspector Garry Cook said they had proven that “Harris had lied and exaggerated” to fabricate his defence, despite bringing a knife to the scene and then fleeing with the victim’s property and phone.
“This was a violent incident between two people who were known to each other which ended with tragic consequences.”
Mr Harris, 29, of, Chigwell, Essex, was arrested on 4 February 2020 after officers were called to a flat in Hammerton Road at 2.46am.
Upon arriving at the property, along with South East Coast Ambulance Service, Mr Webb was found seriously injured and later declared deceased at the scene.
He had injuries consistent with stab wounds.
As part of the investigation by detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, Harris was arrested on the same date of the offence. Two days later, the Crown Prosecution Service authorised a charge of murder and also possession of a knife.
During the trial the jurors were told that Harris had known Mr Webb for a number of years and owed him money.
Harris had initially claimed he attended the address to pay some of the money owed. He claimed he was assaulted and tied to a chair by two other men unknown to him, before he lost consciousness.
During the early investigation Harris told officers he woke up to find only Mr Webb in the room and claimed that he attempted to flee the address.
He said he was acting in self-defence when he got into an altercation with Mr Webb, who was left seriously injured when Harris fled the flat.
At court Harris admitted large parts of his initial account were a lie and he retracted claims that two other men were present.
He stated in court he knew Mr Webb was dead when he left and he made a misleading call to the emergency services. He maintained however he acted in self-defence and Mr Webb had attacked him.
He also admitted taking a knife to the scene but claimed it was for self-defence. During the trial he also said that phones linked to him and Mr Webb were disposed of after the incident.
Following Mr Harris’ arrest officers found him in possession of clothing worn during the incident, and the knife which was used to injure Mr Webb which contained his DNA.
Detective Inspector Garry Cook, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “After a detailed investigation we did not find any evidence of any other people being at the property and it was proven Harris lied and exaggerated the situation in order to set out what he believed was a sound defence.
“We also found evidence to prove that he took a knife to the scene.
“It was as a result of Harris’ actions that Mr Webb lost his life and I hope the verdict provides at least some comfort to Mr Webb’s family.”
He will be sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court court on Friday 15 January.