Man jailed for life over stabbing murder in Northfleet

A man has been given a life-sentence after he tried to claim self-defence following the fatal stabbing of a man in his Northfleet flat.

Despite his claims of self-defence, a jury found Harry Harris guilty of the murder of 44-year-old James Webb following a six-week trial at Maidstone Crown Court which concluded on Monday (January 11).

He was sentenced at the same court on Friday, January 15 and must serve a minimum of 25 years before being considered for parole.

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, Harris was arrested on the same date of the offence. Two days later, he was charged with 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 discuss the money owed. He claimed he was assaulted and tied to a chair by two other men unknown to him, before he lost consciousness.

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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: ‘This was a violent incident between two people who were known to each other which ended with tragic consequences.

“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 today’s sentencing provides some comfort to Mr Webb’s family.”

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