Alexander Layton stabbed James Stokoe six times in the leg with a kitchen knife as the victim’s son sat in the back of the car in Thornaby, near Middlesbrough
Image: Cleveland Police)
A man has been found guilty of stabbing a dad to death in front of his four-year-old son in a brutal road rage murder.
Alexander Layton stabbed James Stokoe six times with a kitchen knife as the victim’s son sat in a booster seat in the back of the car.
Just moments before the killing Mr Stokoe had almost crashed into Layton after he got off a bus in Thornaby, near Middlesbrough.
Mr Stokoe followed Layton and confronted him, with the pedestrian then drawing a knife and stabbing the dad, TeessideLive reports.
The jury also found Layton guilty of a second charge, of the possession of an offensive weapon in a public place.
The murderer dressed in an open-necked shirt and light grey suit appeared stunned as the verdict was read out.
There were shouts from the public gallery of: “Oh my god”.
The jury reached its verdict in just over two hours and Layton will be brought back to court 11 to be sentenced on Tuesday.
Layton calmly approached Mr Stokoe’s vehicle on Trenchard Avenue, in Thornaby, on May 15, 2020, armed with a kitchen knife.
He stabbed Mr Stokoe six times in his right leg-severing his femoral artery and causing huge blood loss.
Mr Stokoe’s four-year-old son was sitting in a booster seat in the back of the car.
Layton picked up his shopping bags; put the bloodied knife back in his backpack and walked home to nearby Shackleton Close, in Thornaby.
Moments earlier, Mr Stokoe had had to brake hard to avoid hitting Layton, who got off a bus and seemingly walked across the busy road without looking.
Mr Stokoe stopped his car and got out, shouting at Layton: “What the f*** do you think you’re doing? I almost ran you over. I’ve got a kid in the car.”
But Layton continued to walk across the road.
Mr Stokoe, angry now, drove his car across the dual carriageway to confront Layton.
Witnesses tell of an argument lasting just seconds, before Layton leaned into the open car door and stabbed Mr Stokoe to death.
Layton held onto the car with one hand for leverage.
Dashcam footage of horrified passing motorists captured the attack.
Residents, peering out of their windows after hearing the commotion, saw the murder.
A nurse rushed out of her home and began CPR on Mr Stokoe, while a boy in a passing car dialled 999.
A crowd of people desperately tried to help.
Alex Layton was long gone – he was at home changing his clothes and backpack, getting ready to go camping.
In a murder that rocked Teesside, Mr Stokoe was pronounced dead less than 20 minutes later.
Chris Atkinson, Head of the Crown Court Unit, at the CPS said: “Alexander Layton committed a horrific fatal attack on Mr Stokoe as a result of a relatively minor verbal altercation.
“Despite the fact that Mr Stokoe had told him that he was driving his young son, Layton repeatedly stabbed him before leaving his gravely injured victim alone in his car with a 4-year old child.
“Though by-passers rushed to Mr Stokoe’s aid, he was to tragically die from his injuries a short time later.
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“From his initial contact with police, Alexander Layton has insisted that he had only ever acted in self-defence to protect himself from Mr Stokoe.
“The Crown Prosecution Service has pieced together text messages, CCTV and eyewitness accounts to show not only that his use of a knife against an unarmed man was an act of murder, but that he had also been carrying the knife that day with the intent of causing someone serious harm.
“Our thoughts remain with the family of Mr Stokoe at this difficult time and we sincerely hope that the conviction of Layton today provides some measure of comfort to them.”