Killed stabbed mother to death and attempting to murder another woman

Killer faces life in jail for bringing ‘the stuff of nightmares’ to London’s streets as he hacked woman to death with machete and tried to murder another as he targeted lone females

  • James Sinclair, 31, stabbed Shadika Patel, 40, seven times in East Ham
  • Mrs Patel had been on her way to deliver a food parcel to her teenage sons 
  • He struck again next day in Islington, stabbing sex worker Beverley Barzey
  • Sinclair denied murder and attempted murder, but was convicted of both

Shadika Patel, 40, was waiting for a bus when she was stabbed seven times by the killer

A killer brought ‘the stuff of nightmares’ to the streets of East London when he hacked one woman to death with a machete and tried to murder another.

James Sinclair, 31, picked Shadika Patel, 40, at random when she was on her way to deliver a suitcase of food to her teenage sons in East Ham ahead of the first Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020.

Her screams were recorded on a CCTV camera as Sinclair – who is now facing a life sentence – slashed her across the head and shoulders with a hunting knife. Surgeons battled to save Mrs Patel, but she was pronounced dead that night.

The following night Sinclair attacked a sex worker called Beverley Barzey in Islington, who went down an alleyway with him. He stabbed her at least 12 times with a machete, but she survived.

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

On the day of the murder, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had advised against all non-essential travel ahead of the start of the national lockdown one week later.

James Sinclair, 31, has been found guilty of stabbing a mother-of-two to death and attempting to murder another woman 24 hours later in two ‘unprovoked’ attacks in London

As a result the streets of London were ‘unusually quiet’, the court heard.

Ms Patel had planned to get a coach to Leicester but for some reason she was on Altmore Avenue in East Ham by a bus stop for more than three hours.

Sinclair was looking for a woman on her own and when he saw Mrs Patel from a bus, he got off to attack her. ‘At a little past half past midnight, she was approached on foot by a man and that man was the defendant,’ said Mr Emlyn Jones.

‘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. Both of her lungs were punctured.’

Ms Patel’s screams were overheard by residents in the area and one of them made a 999 call. Emergency services arrived to find her in ‘critical condition’ and she was taken to Newham General Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 1.44am.

The Crown Prosecution Service said the prosecution case ‘included DNA evidence and CCTV footage, which clearly linked Sinclair to the attacks’. He is pictured on CCTV above

Sinclair went home after the attack and the next night he was on the street again, armed with a machete.

‘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,’ the prosecutor said.

‘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. And he attacked her with it, stabbing her repeatedly, like Ms Patel, to the face and mainly to the upper body.

‘In her case one of her lungs, her left lung, was punctured and collapsed. And the defendant left her there for dead, ran away, and went home.’

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

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

Sinclair was living in a hostel room at Three Colt Street in Poplar, which is provided by ‘Look Ahead’, a mental health charity.

On the day of the murder – on March 19, 2020 – Prime Minister Boris Johnson had advised against all non-essential travel ahead of start of the national lockdown one week later

He denied murder and attempted murder, but did not give evidence and offered no real defence. The jury took just 40 minutes to convict him of both charges.

Speaking after the conviction, Samantha Yelland, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said the attacks were ‘unprovoked’.

‘These were opportunistic, unprovoked and vicious attacks on two women while they were alone and in the dark’, she added.

‘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.

‘The prosecution case included DNA evidence and CCTV footage, which clearly linked Sinclair to the attacks. Workers at the hostel that Sinclair had been staying at were also able to identify him from images that the police presented to them. The clothes that Sinclair had been wearing when he murdered Ms Patel were found inside his room.

‘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.’

Sinclair, who was not present in court at the Old Bailey to hear the verdict, will be sentenced this Friday. 

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