Sister of James Brindley says she 'yearns' for slain entrepreneur
Family of model who was stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack reveal they can’t find peace because man jailed for his murder has never revealed his motive while his brother was acquitted
- James Brindley, 26, from West Midlands, was stabbed to death on June 23 2017
- He was stabbed through the heart with the knife, 400m from his parents’ home
- Local teenager Ammar Karhod was convicted of James murder in 2018, got life
- New MTV documentary True Life Crime, airing tonight, sheds light on the case
- James’ sister Charlotte says ‘yearns’ for brother and part of her died with him
The family of model and entrepreneur James Brindley, who was stabbed to death in 2017 while on the phone with his girlfriend have revealed they can’t begin to come to terms with their loss because they stilll don’t know why he was killed.
Brindley, 26, was stabbed in the heart by local teen Ammar Kahrod in Aldridge, West Midlands on June 23 2017. Karhod, who was 17 at the time, was sentenced to life in prison after he was found guilty of the crime.
His brother Aaron, who was with him at the time the altercation with Brindley occurred, was acquitted of all charges.
MTV crime docu-series True Life Crime, airing tonight at 9pm, sheds new light on James’s story, speaking to his parents Mark and Beverley, his sister Charlotte and several of his close friends, including his girlfriend Lauren.
Fighting back tears, sister Charlotte said she is ‘yearning’ for James every day, and hoped the 2018 trial of the Kahrod brothers would bring some ‘truth,’ but only resulted in ‘lies.’
James’ best-friend PJ also said in the documentary he felt responsible for the murder, thinking it was a case of mistaken identity.
James Brindley, 26, pictured, was stabbed in the heart and died on 23 June 2017 in Aldridge, West Midlands, after teenager Ammar Kahrod, 17 at the time, attacked him for a motive still unknown
James’ father Mark said the trial was a ‘travesty of justice,’ and that he and his family walked out upon hearing the verdict.
An emotional Beverley and Mark sat down with MTV correspondent Linda Adey for the docu-series where they remembered him as a ‘lively’ child.
James was stabbed 400m from home, on his way from a night out with some friends.
The blade of the knife used to stab him went right through skin and bone, reaching his heart, causing him to stumble and collapse to the floor.
Ammar Kahrod, pictured, is serving a life sentence following his 2018 trial. His brother Aaron, who was not pictured, was acquitted of all charges
Paramedics spent one hour trying to revive James, whole his parents and sister watched.
‘It’s a mind-numbing shock, you just don’t imagine you’re not going to see your son come home,’ dad Mark said.
Sister Charlotte said: ‘We’re incredibly close, as kids, we were always getting up to this and that. He was my best friend.’
It was Charlotte who broke the news to her parents that James had been stabbed.
‘We were in bed, just dropping off, our bedroom door burst open with Charlotte screaming “James’s been stabbed, James been stabbed”,’ Beverley recounted.
‘We were just an emotional meltdown, standing there, the thee of us just holding each other and say “Be strong, be strong, he’s fit, he’ll be fine”,’ Mark said.
Mark said he couldn’t believe he was talking about his son in past tense, on the docu-series, but said he was trying to count himself luck he got 26 years with James (pictured with Beverley)
James’ parent Beverley and Mark Brindley, said in the documentary they had still not recovered from losing their son to knife crime
‘I can just remember the figures coming towards us and saying, you know, “He’s dying, I can’t do any more”,’ Charlotte recalled with tears in her eyes.
‘He’d had heart surgery done before, in the middle of the high street, and he was gonna die there,’ she added.
‘We were able to actually go over to say bye, I couldn’t say bye, I couldn’t stay near him, I feel so guilty because I couldn’t even say bye,’ she cried.
‘As a dad you want to be there to protect your son, and I wasn’t there,’ Mark said, overcome with emotion.
‘Any parents who doesn’t know the truth surrounding something as serious as that, is just living with a permanent open wound,’ he added.
‘James was on his way home but didn’t get home, and we don’t know why,’ Beverly said.
James’ sister Charlotte said people took life as if they meant nothing, and that is was wrong, int he poignant docu-series (pictured)
James’s sister Charlotte, pictured right, said a bit of her died with her brother, and that she couldn’t bring herself to say goodbye the night that he died, and felt guilty
‘We got him home in a coffin, we’ve lived without knowing the truth for 3.5 years and we can’t let that go, we have to know the truth,’ Mark said.
Reflecting on her brother’s death, grief-stricken Charlotte said: ‘Missing is not the right word. I yearn for him everyday. I have never known life without him, he’s always been there.
‘A bit of me died with him that day,’ she added.
Mark and Beverley visit the church where James’ funeral took place everyday. They did not bury him, and want to scatter his ashes at a place he’d have liked.
‘I just miss him so much, I can’t believe we’re sitting here talking about our son in the past-tense, but the memory will live on,’ Mark said.
‘We’re here now because of the love from everybody,’ Beverley said.
‘We have to be glad we had 26 years with him, despite the pain,’ Mark said.
The couple are keeping James’ memory alive through the James Brindley Foundation, which aims to educate young people about the dangers of carrying knives.
Mark described knife crime as ‘a disease that’s been going for many, many years.’
‘To carry a knife, you’re taking a life but not only that, it’s their family, their friends, their community,’ Charlotte said.
‘People take a life, as if it’s cheap and don’t mean anything, that is wrong,’ she added.
Knife crime was highly unusual in quiet Aldridge, but it was on the rise around the country in 2017.
James, pictured, was on the phone with his girlfriend when the accident erupted. He called her back to tell her he had been stabbed
Superintendent Chris Mallett, who worked on the case, said the only plausible theory was that Ammar decided to attack James unprovoked (pictured)
James had been walking home after a night out with friends, and was speaking on the phone with his girlfriend, with whom he was making up with after a row, when the attack occurred.
With no direct witnesses coming forward and no CCTV, the investigating team had little to start with, except footage from the local pub showing James going in and out of the establishment.
Annoyed at his girlfriend, the 26-year-old met his best-friend PJ and some other friends at the pub, before going home.
After he was attacked, James, who had been on the phone with his girlfriend Lauren, called her back to tell her he had been stabbed and was calling an ambulance.
Heartbreakingly, a CCTV recorded the moment James collapsed to the floor before paramedics arrived. The moment was not shown on the documentary, although journalist Linda Adey saw it during her investigation.
James, pictured, is remembered as a fun-loving, peaceful person by his friends and family on the documentary
James’ public profile as a popular, likable person made it unlikely for the attack to be premeditated.
His best-friend PJ revealed in the documentary he thought it was a case of mistaken identity and that someone who had wanted to stab him attacked James instead, but police said they was absolutely no evidence to add any weight to this claims.
‘I cant get my head around it myself, it’s the worst I ever felt about anything because I left him, at night, everyone thought “it’s going to be something to do with PJ”,’ he said.
‘Because he was with me. Somebody was more likely to want to hurt me than to hurt him,’ he added.
Superintendent Chris Mallet, who led police searches into the crime, said the police relied on CCTV in order to find possible witnesses.
This allowed them to spot a car that drove by Croft Park at the time where the stabbing occurred.
Unnamed witnesses around the car said they saw three men – one of them being James – going into a scuffle by a bus stop near the park. They also said they saw two men run off through the park.
Thanks to this information, police were able to use CCTV around Aldridge to locate the two men, and launched an appeal in order to identity them.
They were soon identified as Ammar and Aaron Kahrod, two brothers from Aldridge who had gone to the same school as James.
‘It was shocking really to discover they were from Aldridge, went to the same school as me and Jim,’ friend Tom said in the documentary.
‘We were completely and utterly baffled, nothing that made them think there was a connection between James and the perpetrators,’ Beverley said.
A man named Charlie, who went to school with Ammar, told Linda Adey: ‘I went to school with the younger one, he wasn’t very nice, he was part of a gaggle of boys who were deeply unpleasant bullies,’
‘One time he slapped me in the kidneys and it was hard enough that next time I had a wee there was blood in it,’ he added.
After James’ 2017 death, passers-by left tributes and flower on the path where the died following his attack, pictured
‘There were a few kids in my year that carried knives at school, I wasn’t shocked he would be one of the people that carried a knife,’ he went on.
Upon being arrested by police, the two brothers refused to answer questions. Police were under pressure to find tangible evidence linking them to the crime.
Their phone data showed them in the same general area where the attack occurred, but nothing more.
However, a search of Croft park’s bins found a black puffer jacket that had been ripped at the front.
Fingerprints on the jacket matched James’s, as well as Ammar and Aaron Kahrod.
The brother had no choice but to cooperate with police.
However, Ammar claimed during police interviews he had acted in self defense after James racially abused him and provoked him.
Friends and family of James said the claim was ‘ridiculous’ and that James as a ‘peaceful’ person who liked people of all races and would not go about provoking fights with strangers.
‘It was laughable that somebody would say,’ said Alexandria, James’ friend.
Police cordoned off the whole area during their investigation into James’s death, pictured. They used CCTV to identify witnesses who led them to the Karhod brothers
‘Jim would never carry a knife ever, in a million years,’ friend PJ said.
‘It’s such a lie, the whole thing, the lies they told, what human being can do that,’ his sister Charlotte, said, crying.
After the friends and family of James all said it would be impossible for James to carry a knife of be violent, Ammar retracted his claim that James had been racially abusive, but still insisted he had a knife and that Ammar had acted in self-defense.
Through a covert investigation, Chris Mallett was able to obtain more information on the alternation.
‘They said “we got some new evidence”, it was described to us as a slam dunk for the prosecution,’ James’ father Mark said.
Linda obtained information showing that Ammar had admitted he was the one who had a knife, and had told his brother Aaron: ‘if we both say the truth, we’re going to get done.’
‘Without his knowledge, he admitted carrying a knife and implicated his brother as well,’ Linda said.
Both brother were charged with joint entreprise to kill James Brindley.
Russ Whitfield, a crime expert, explained: ‘Joint entreprise is where one or two or more people actually have a joint entreprise to go and do a crime.
‘Only one person made the strike or fatal blow, if the other knows what the other is going to do and assists that person, that is joint entreprise,’ he added.
‘They attacked James together, they abandoned him and left him to die together,’ said James dad.
‘One of the witness heard the older brother shout “come on then”,’ Beverly added.
Seven month after James Murder, in February 2018, Ammar and Aaron Kahrod stood trial in at Birmingham’s Crown Court.
Ammar changed his statement once more, admitting he was carrying the night, but insisting he had only used it for self-defense.
James, pictured, was remembered by his friends as a peaceful individual, while his sister Charlotte said a part of her died with him
In this new version of the attack, Ammar said he made a joke about James’ girlfriend, that James launched at him, and that Ammar brandished the knife to keep him at bay, but that James ran into the blade.
The self-defense theory is not accepted by Chris Mallett.
‘Any suggestion that a knife was used defensively was totally eradicated by the findings of the postmortem,’ he said.
Later, during the cross-examination, Ammar admitted he was lying and that he didn’t know why he was lying.
When the verdict of the trial came out, Ammar was sentenced to life in prison, while his brother Aaron, who said he had no idea Ammar was carrying a knife, was acquitted.
‘I just fell on my knees, I just couldn’t believe it, it’s a travesty of justice,’ Mark said.
‘We walked out of the court, we can’t understand how that could have happened but it did, we still don’t have the truth, and the truth is everything,’ he added.
‘Our argument was and the crown prosecution service case was that the only credible version of events is that he is walking along, minding his own business and they had just randomly decided, having seen him, to go up and attack him,’ Chris Mallett said.
‘We were satisfied that both suspects were involved to a degree where they were criminally both culpable for James death,’ he added.
‘The court and the jury ultimately decided the evidence wasn’t strong enough.’
True Life Crime: James Brindley: Mindless Murder or Calculated Killing? airs tonight at 9pm on MTV.
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