‘Stuff of nightmares’ killer hacked mother to death and tried to kill another woman

A killer who brought the “stuff of nightmares” when he hacked a mother to death as she delivered food to her sons during lockdown faces life behind bars.

James Sinclair, 31, attacked victim Shadika Patel, 40, at random as he was looking for a lone woman to attack.

Her harrowing screams were recorded on a CCTV camera as Sinclair slashed her across the head and shoulders with a hunting knife.

The following night he attacked sex worker Beverley Barzey, who went down an alleyway with the killer.

She survived the ordeal, despite the the evil attacker inflicting at least 12 stab wounds.

Prosecutor Bill Emlyn Jones earlier told the jury: “What we are concerned in this case with is, I’m afraid, the stuff of nightmares.

“At a little past half past midnight, she was approached on foot by a man and that man was the defendant.

“There is good quality CCTV covering the location, and the defendant and Ms Patel can be seen to engage in what looks like a brief and slightly awkward conversation. They then separated but the defendant did not leave.

“Instead, he ducked out of Shadika Patel’s view, behind a wall, where he can be seen on the CCTV to put a glove on his right hand. He then emerged and ran after Ms Patel.

“He caught up with her just out of the field of view of the camera, but there is a microphone on that camera which recorded the audio of what happened next.

“What happened was that the defendant stabbed Shadika Patel seven times, before running away.

“He stabbed her in the face and in the head and in the shoulders.”

The mother’s screams were overheard by residents in the area who called 999 but she died later in hospital.

He added of the attack the next night: “Ms Barzey was prepared to accompany the defendant to a secluded location in order to engage, she thought, in sexual activity with him in return for money.

“But that is not what he wanted and that is not what happened. The two of them went together into a dark alleyway, and when they got there the defendant drew a large knife.

“Miss Barzey describes it as being like a machete.

“He attacked her with it, stabbing her repeatedly, like Ms Patel, to the face and mainly to the upper body.”

When he learned the police were after him, Sinclair booked a flight to Rio but was arrested before he could get to the airport.

Police found Ms Patel’s blood in the pocket of his puffer jacket and Ms Barzey’s blood on one of his trainers.

Sinclair was living in a hostel room in Three Colt Street, Poplar, east London, provided by mental health charity Look Ahead.

He denied murder and attempted murder, but the jury took just 40 minutes to convict him of both charges.

Sinclair, who was not present in court to hear the verdict, will be sentenced on Friday.

Samantha Yelland, from the CPS, said: “These were opportunistic, unprovoked and vicious attacks on two women while they were alone and in the dark.

“James Sinclair targeted his victims leaving them both for dead in the street. Shadika Patel was a concerned mother who had packed a bag of food to take to her children ahead of the national lockdown. She was brutally murdered before she even got on the bus.

“All women should be free to walk through the streets of London without fearing violent attacks. The CPS is committed to prosecuting those who carry out violent acts against women.

“I hope these convictions provide some sense of justice to the family and friends of Ms Patel. “Our thoughts remain with them at this time.”