Youth must serve at least 17 years behind bars for entrepreneur's stab murder

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A remorseless youth convicted of murdering a budding health fitness entrepreneur will serve at least 17 years in prison for the brutal street stabbing.

Victim James Brindley, 26, was knifed in the heart not far from his parents' home in Aldridge, West Midlands, on June 23 last year, messaging his girlfriend: "I've just been stabbed."

Ammar Kahrod, 17, who can now be identified after a successful press application to lift restrictions, denied murder but was unanimously convicted by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court on Thursday.

Sentencing the killer on Friday for detention at Her Majesty's pleasure, judge Patrick Thomas QC told him: "James Brindley died because you carried a knife."

Addressing Kahrod, who remained sat and head-bowed in the dock before him, the judge said he had "lied and lied again" over what happened that night by falsely claiming he acted in self-defence, branding it all "a terrible tale".

James Brindley death
The parents of James Brindley, Beverley and Mark Brindley, with Detective Chief Inspector Chris Mallett (Richard Vernalls/PA)

He added: "Once a knife is out, anything can happen - here the death of a totally innocent and unsuspecting young man."

The jury acquitted the youth's older brother Aaron Kahrod, 21, of murdering Mr Brindley.

The younger Kahrod, of Walsall Road, Aldridge, claimed Mr Brindley was the aggressor but in a covertly recorded conversation admitted to teasing the part-time gym worker "about his girl".

The fatal wound was inflicted in a 35-second gap between two phone calls Mr Brindley had with his girlfriend Lauren at 11.42pm on June 23 last year.

Mr Brindley's 22-year-old sister Charlotte described her brother in court as her "best friend and confidante", saying the killer had "destroyed everything" dear to her family.

She paid emotional tribute to her "well-loved, respected and highly thought-of" sibling reading her victim impact statement to a court packed with both Kahrod and Mr Brindley's family and friends.

A jacket and surgical-type mask found by murder detectives
Detectives found a torn coat dumped in a bin, and linked to the murderer, with traces of the victim's DNA on it, and a surgical-type mask in the pocket (West Midlands Police/PA)

She added: "One of the worst parts is because James was so loyal, if the tables were turned - if he'd witnessed the defendant in trouble, he'd have done everything in his power to help them."

As she did, Mr Brindley's mother Beverley broke into tears telling Kahrod's family sat in front of her in the public gallery: "That is absolutely true - and you need to know that."

The victim's father Mark Brindley told how their last words, as he went for a night out with friends, were "have fun, Jim, take care".

He told how his popular, intelligent son was at a "pivotal moment" in his life, ready to set up a health and fitness business in the September of that year.

But those plans were shattered by Kahrod's "calculated, cold-blooded, and cowardly" actions.

Rushing to the nearby police cordon, he said: "We were helpless and we desperately wanted him to know that we were there, so we called to him 'we love you James'.

"Eventually, we were told that he had died and were escorted to his body, lying in his own blood on the pavement where he fell, his chest opened up by the medics, to allow open heart surgery and direct heart massage."