A BOY has been found guilty of the horrific murders of James Attfield and Nahid Almanea in Colchester. 

James Fairweather, a former Colchester Academy pupil of Thorpe Walk, Colchester, brutally murdered two strangers to satisfy his desire to kill.

After a ten-day trial at Guildford Crown Court, the jury returned its verdict at 12.50pm today.

His sentence will be passed at the Old Bailey on Friday, April 29.

During a police interview, James Fairweather told officers his "voices" selected Jim Attfield as a victim while he lay asleep.

Fairweather also acted out how he first attacked the dad-of-five and said as he repeatedly stabbed his victim his voices were laughing loudly.

During the interview on the day he was arrested, he said: "My voices were telling me you need to make a sacrifice, you have got to do it.

"It was him lying there on the grass. He was fast asleep and you would swear he was drunk."

Getting up from his chair, the teen acted out the first stab wound he inflicted on Mr Attfield, saying: "I stabbed him first there and I did it a few times.

"When I was doing that, my voices were laughing and laughing louder and louder."

Mr Attfield was found about 6am on 29 March 2014 in a park in Colchester; he had received more than 100 stab wounds during a savage assault and died shortly after being found.

In Ms Almanea’s case the attack was in broad daylight in June 2014 about 10.30am near the University of Essex where she was a student.

Julie Finch, James Attfield's mother, said: "We are grateful for today's verdict and hope now justice has been served we can begin to move on as a family.

"On March 29, 2014 our lives were changed forever when my kind and brave son Jim was brutally killed.

"He had been through so much already, having fought hard to overcome the effects of brain damage suffered when he was struck by a car. He didn't deserve to die.

"At the time we had no idea the killer was so young - a fact that makes my sons' death feel all the more cruel and unnecessary.

"James Fairweather is a monster in our eyes - and we will never be able to forgive him.

"I would like to thank all the police I have had contact with for all their hard work and sensitivity. 

"I would also like to thank the media who have supported us during the investigation, keeping Jim’s case in the public eye and helping the police with appeals for information. Journalists have shown us great sensitivity throughout the trial. Everyone has been extremely supportive.

"My family and I now wish to be left alone so we can continue to grieve in private."

Brentwood Live:

Following the murder of Nahid Almanea her family made a statement.

It read: "As a family we have been left devastated by the terrible murder of Nahid.

"Nahid was a remarkable and gentle person who was loved for her kind and caring nature.

"Publicly Nahid was a quiet and dignified lady who chose to pursue her academic studies in order to work towards her PHD and whilst in England she made a decision that she would respect her heritage and traditions in the way that she dressed and conducted herself.

"However, when she was with her family Nahid was a warm and loving person who enjoyed laughter and the company of her parents, siblings and extended family. 

"The amount of people that attended Nahid’s funeral is a tribute to how much she was cared for and respected."

Chief Constable Steve Worron said: "James Attfield and Nahid Almanea were killed in horrific circumstances and their deaths sent shockwaves through the Colchester community.

"We vowed to do everything possible to bring the person responsible for their deaths to justice and their killer has now been convicted. 

"Speaking on behalf of Essex Police I would like to thank the residents, businesses, staff and students of the University of Essex and the general community of Colchester for their support as we made our enquiries.

"Officers spent many hundreds of hours searching the parks and lakes, making house to house enquiries, reviewing CCTV footage and interviewing potential witnesses.

"The town’s people showed nothing but courtesy to our teams as they worked and even provided drinks and refreshments to officers who spent many hours manning scene guards and cordons.

"They also helped us by responding to the appeals we made both via the press, TV and radio and on our own social media channels.

"I’m heartened that we have been able to repay them by giving them the greatest public reassurance of all in that the killer was found, convicted and has been taken off the streets. 

"I would also like to thank the media, especially the local newspapers and radio stations who helped us to keep the investigations in the public eye.

"Their continued coverage and stories encouraged many witnesses to come forward to assist us with our enquiries.

"They also helped to raise local residents’ awareness about the need to be vigilant.

"We were able to have an open and honest dialogue with journalists who were as committed as we were in bringing the person responsible for the death of these two people to justice.”

Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: "I am pleased that the jury has returned guilty verdicts in this case and that this trial has now concluded.

"Firstly I would like to once again offer my sympathy to the families of Nahid Almanea and James Attfield. To lose a loved one is traumatic, but to lose a relative in such violent circumstances and then face the ordeal of a trial is truly harrowing.

"I have found this case deeply disturbing, as has the wider Essex community, because of the level of violence perpetrated by a defendant of such a young age on two individuals completely unknown to him.

"This case highlights the need for all of us to be prepared to talk about not only the harm being perpetrated by our young people, but also the likelihood that harm is being caused to them by repeated exposure to extreme violence and pornography, both of which are readily available on the internet and both of which we have heard cited in this case.

"This case is testament to the dedication and hard work of all the police officers and staff involved. Officers from Essex Police, supported by colleagues from neighbouring forces, worked around the clock to investigate these murders, reassure the community and bring this case and the defendant before the courts. I hope now the families of Nahid and James can be left to grieve in peace and begin to rebuild their lives."

Fairweather walked around the Greenstead Estate to try and find a target, a lone and vulnerable victim he could overpower and brutally kill.

Unable to find a suitable “sacrifice” he walked towards Castle Park where he came across James Attfield, resting by the Riverside Walk after a day and night of drinking.

During the next three minute frenzy he stabbed the 33-year-old father-of-five 102 times before fleeing while Jim, as he was known to family and friends, fought to survive.

He died hours later from blood loss due to the sheer volume of wounds.

On June 17, 80 days after he killed James Attfield, Fairweather left his home armed with a 15 inch bayonet.

He spent the next two hours touring the same estate desperate to find someone alone and vulnerable when he spotted Nahid Almanea, dressed in appropriate clothing for her Islamic faith and, for once, walking alone.

He snuck up behind her, stabbed her in the back before spinning her around, knocking off her sunglasses and stabbing her through the eye piercing her brain.

When she fell to the ground he straddled her, just like he had James, and stabbed her in the other eye before inflicting more than a dozen wounds while in “a rage”.


March 29, 2014:
Police receive a call from a member of the public at just before 5.45am after Jim Attfield was found on the Riverside Path in Colchester. He had been stabbed more than 100 times. Ambulance crews attended but the 33-year-old from East Bay was sadly pronounced dead at the scene. Detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate launched a murder investigation. A cordon is placed at the scene and police officers take to the streets to make enquiries and carry out reassurance patrols.

March 30, 2014:
Jim’s mother Julie Finch pays tribute to her son and says he was ‘loved by all his family and will be missed.’ Post mortem carried out.

March 31, 2014:
Essex Police holds press conference at Essex Police HQ in Chelmsford. Post mortem results reveal that there were 102 separate knife wounds on Jim’s body. These were on his arms, hands, back, neck and head. Cause of death was established to be multiple stab wounds. Officers revealed there was no apparent motive for Jim’s murder, there was no suspect and the knife used had not been recovered.

April 2, 2014:
Jim’s mum Julie speaks at her first press conference and appeals to the public to come forward with information about her son’s murder.

A 38-year-old man from Colchester is arrested in connection with the murder enquiry.

April 4, 2014:
The arrested man is released without charge.

April 5, 2014:
Police speak to park users a week on from the murder and continue to forensically search the park.

April 7, 2014:
Detectives release three EFITs of people of three men they would like to trace in connection with the investigation.

April 10, 2014: 
21 CCTV images showing 23 different people who were in the area of Castle Park are released to the public in a bid to trace people who could help with the investigation. 

April 11, 2014: 
Senior Investigating Officer DCI Simon Werrett appears on Channel 5’s Law & Disorder: Catching Criminals Live to make a national television appeal for information. Officers arrest a 27-year-old woman from Colchester in connection with the murder. She is later bailed pending further enquiries. The cordon in place in Castle Park is lifted.

April 14, 2014
Independent charity Crimestoppers announce that it is offering a £5,000 reward for information that leads to the conviction of Jim’s killer.

April 19, 2014:
Officers make an appeal for a man and a woman seen sitting on a bench by the lake in Castle Park between 11.30pm and 11.40pm on Friday, March 28 to come forward.

April 23, 2014: 
A 27-year-old man from Colchester is arrested in connection with the murder investigation. He is then bailed pending further police enquiries.

April 25, 2014:
Detectives carry out anniversary appeals in the Castle Park area of Colchester one month on from the weekend of Jim’s murder.

April 28, 2014: 
Appeal for information about the murder appears on the BBC Crimewatch programme. It featured CCTV released of people detectives were trying to trace who may have been in the Castle Park area before Jim’s death. One person comes forward and was identified.

May 5, 2014:
Police make further appeals to trace a woman who was captured on CCTV at the River Lodge pub where Jim had been drinking on the evening before he was murdered. It is possible she may have been the woman seen sitting on a bench in near the lake in Castle Park with another man on Friday, March 28.

May 9, 2014: 
One of the men pictured in the EFITs released on April 7 comes forward, is identified and is ruled out of the investigation.

May 27, 2014:
Police release a further CCTV image of a man they would like to speak to in connection with the investigation. 

May 28, 2014:
Police appeal for an early morning dog walker, pictured on the CCTV already released, to come forward.

June 2, 2014:
A reconstruction of Jim Attfield’s last known movements appears on the BBC Crimewatch programme as part of another appeal featured on the BBC 1 programme.

June 3, 2014:
Two 33-year-old men from Colchester were arrested and then bailed in connection with the investigation.

June 17, 2014: 
Police are called at 10.40am following reports that a member of the public had found a woman collapsed on the Salary Brook Trail in Colchester. She had severe head and body injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene by attending ambulance crews. Detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate launch a murder investigation. A 52-year-old man from Colchester was arrested in connection with the murder.

June 18, 2014: 
Detectives make a public appeal about the murder and urge anybody who may have been using the Salary Brook Trail on the morning to come forward. They reveal they are keeping an open mind about the motive behind the attack. Nothing had been stolen from the victim.

June 18, 2014
A press conference is held at Essex Police HQ in Chelmsford. The victim of the murder is formally identified as Nahid Almanea, aged 31, of Woodrow Way, Colchester. She was a student from Saudi Arabia studying at the University of Essex. Detectives describe her murder as a ‘brutal and savage attack’. CCTV of Nahid walking past the shops in Hunwicke Road, Colchester, is released. 

June 19, 2014:
The 52-year-old man arrested in connection with the murder of Nahid Almanea is released without charge.

June 20, 2014:
Officers arrest a 19-year-old man from Colchester in connection with the murder of Nahid after he was arrest on suspicion of assaulting a woman who was jogging near Peache Road at around 10pm on June, 19. He was later released without charge.

June 21, 2014:
Detectives reveal that the murders of Nahid Almanea and Jim Attfield are being treated as separate but parallel investigations. They appeal publicly for information about a man in a red hooded top that was seen running along Hewes Close at 10.56am on the day Nahid was murdered.

June 22, 2014: 
Forensic searches of the Salary Brook Trail continue and three fishing lakes close to the scene of Nahid’s murder are drained. The first appeal is made for the man in the distinctive Italian style beige designer jacket seen walking on the Salary Brook Trail between 10.20am and 10.40am on the day Nahid was murdered.

June 23, 2014:
Police continue their public appeals for information and urge for two cyclists, a man and woman, who were cycling together on the Salary Brook Trail to come forward.

June 24, 2014:
Officers carry out anniversary appeals on the Salary Brook Trail and on the Greenstead Estate in Colchester a week on from Nahid’s murder.

June 25, 2014:
Detectives investigating the murder of Nahid say they have completed 325 house to house enquiries, recovered 38 knives, received 600 calls to the incident room and taken witness statements from 106 people. The University of Essex describes Nahid as ‘an exceptional student’ and that her murder had a ‘profound impact’ on students and staff. Independent charity Crimestoppers announces that it if offering a £10,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person or person’s responsible for the murders of Jim and Nahid.

June 27, 2014:
Police continue public reassurance patrols in Colchester and urge residents of the town and students at the University of Essex to remain vigilant.

June 30, 2014:
Jim Attfield’s funeral takes place at the St Peter ad Vincula church in Coggeshall.

July 2, 2014:
Part of the Salary Brook Trail Nature Reserve reopens to the public.

July 3, 2014:
An EFIT of the man seen running up Hewes Close away from the Salary Brook Trail on the day of Nahid’s murder is released to the public.

July 4, 2014:
Police reveal that the investigations into the murders of Jim and Nahid are two of the largest carried out in Essex in the past 10 years.

July 11, 2014:
Police continue their appeals to try and build up a picture as to why Jim may have been in Castle Park in the early hours of the morning.

July 15, 2014:
One month on from Nahid’s murder, detectives return to the Salary Brook Trail to talk to people who may have been in the area at the time of Nahid’s death. They renew their appeal for the man in the beige, Italian style designer jacket to come forward.

July 17, 2014:
Officers reveal that they are following more than 400 forensic leads as they investigate both murders including knives, DNA, fibre and footwear analysis.

July 21, 2014:
Officers make another plea for the man and woman seen sitting on the bench by the lake in Castle Park on the night before the morning of Jim’s murder to come forward.

July 22, 2014:
Nahid’s murder is featured on the BBC Crimewatch programme. Officers had an encouraging response from the public which provided a number of active enquiries.

July 25, 2014:
Nahid Almanea’s family issue a tribute to their daughter and describe her as’ a remarkable person who was loved for her kind and caring nature.’ They said they had been left devastated by her terrible murder. Officers also visited her family in Saudi Arabia.

July 28, 2014:
Police make appeals asking for people Jim Attfield may have been speaking to on social media shortly before he died to come forward. They also make another appeal for the man and woman seen sitting on the bench by the lake in Castle Park to come forward.

August 7, 2014:
Detectives announce they have arrested nine people in total from Essex and Suffolk in connection with the investigation into Jim Attfield’s murder. They were all then later bailed pending further police enquiries.

September 5, 2014:
Officers place posters up in pubs near to the area where Jim Attfield was last seen drinking to encourage witnesses and people featured in CCTV images to come forward. They needed to identify six people who had not been identified from the 21 CCTV images that had been released earlier in the investigation. They also made further public appeals for a woman Jim may have been speaking to on Facebook to come forward.

September 24, 2014: 
Police arrest a 19-year-old man from Colchester in connection with the murder investigation into Jim’s death. He is the 10th person arrested in connection with the investigation. He was later bailed pending further police enquiries.

September 25, 2014:
Detectives carry out anniversary appeals in Colchester town centre six months on from the weekend of Jim Attfield’s murder.

November 6, 2014:
Detectives release more than 70 CCTV images in attempt to identify people who may have been on the Salary Brook Trail at the time Nahid Almanea was murdered. Forty-six people were subsequently identified and ruled out of the investigation.

January 8, 2015: 
It is announced that all ten people arrested in connection with the murder of Jim Attfield are released from their bail without charge. Officers reveal that so far more than 10,000 staffing hours have been worked on this enquiry, 850 witness statements had been taken and 140 knives had been submitted for forensic examination, 550 hours of CCTV footage had been reviewed and more than 400 hours had been spent interviewing the people that had been arrested in connection with the investigation.

March 25/26, 2015:
One year on from Jim’s murder, his mum Julie Finch makes an appeal for people with information about his death to come forward. Police also place an ad van in Colchester town centre and targeted appeals on social media.

April 1, 2015:
Officials from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Interior and Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecutions visit Essex Police to discuss the progress of the investigation into Nahid’s death. They visit the Salary Brook Trail in Colchester.

May 26, 2015: 
A member of the public calls Essex Police following concerns they had about somebody acting suspiciously on the Salary Brook Trail in Colchester. A 16-year-old boy from Colchester is arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon.

May 29, 2015: 
Detectives investigating the deaths of Jim Attfield and Nahid Almanea charge a 16-year-old boy from Colchester with their murders.

January 22, 2016:
A 17-year-old boy from Colchester appears at The Old Bailey and pleads guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

April 11, 2016:
Trial begins at Guildford Crown Court. The youth pleads guilty to possession of a knife in a public place on May 26, 2015.