Sadistic teenage killer who idolised serial killers jailed

James Fairweather terrorised people of Colchester for 14 months

James Fairweather:  claimed he was possessed by the devil.  Photograph:  Essex Police/PA

James Fairweather: claimed he was possessed by the devil. Photograph: Essex Police/PA


A teenage killer has been detained for a minimum of 27 years in prison for stabbing two strangers to death as he tried to be like his idols – the Yorkshire Ripper and Ted Bundy.

James Fairweather was 15 when he terrorised a local community by carrying out horrific random attacks on James Attfield, and Nahid Almanea three months later.

Despite claiming he was possessed by the devil, he was found guilty of the murders and sentenced at the Old Bailey by Mr Justice Spencer, who said the killings were “brutal and sadistic”.

He said the attack on Mr Attfield was “brutal, relentless and cowardly” adding: “You are well aware of the publicity this first murder attracted. I have no doubt you relished the sense of power and control that it gave you.”

Inspired by notorious serial killers, he stabbed 33-year-old Mr Attfield 102 times as he lay drunk in a park in Colchester, Essex, in March 2014.

Amid the resulting “pervasive climate of fear”, he then went on to seek out a second vulnerable victim – 5ft tall Essex University student Miss Almanea. The petite 31-year-old was attacked with a bayonet and stabbed in both eyes as she walked alone along the Salary Brook nature trail in broad daylight.

Fairweather had “deliberately” knocked her sunglasses off to maim her eyes as Peter Sutcliffe had done to one of his victims. The judge said: “I have no doubt the way James Attfield screamed in pain when he was stabbed through the eye had remained with you and excited you.”


At the time of his arrest, he was wearing gloves and armed with a lock knife.

He was “turned on” by serial killers and researched Ian Huntley, Myra Hindley and Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, of whom he had a picture on his phone. Ted Bundy, who was his favourite serial killer, sexually assaulted, murdered and decapitated his victims.

Fairweather, who has autism, had been playing violent computer games Call Of Duty and Grand Theft Auto since he was 13. And he had a stash of horror films including ‘Wrong Turn’: ‘The Carnage Collection’, a DVD about Sutcliffe and a book called ‘The World’s Worst Crimes’.

After he killed, he obsessively looked up press coverage of the murders on the internet. He admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, claiming he believed he was possessed by the devil and heard voices that compelled him to kill. But the 17-year-old was convicted of murder after an expert told his trial that his description of the hallucinations sounded like something plucked from a horror film.

He appeared at the Old Bailey for sentencing, wearing a long black leather coat, and supported by his parents. Following his conviction, Mr Attfield’s mother, Julie Finch, had said: “James Fairweather is a monster in our eyes – and we will never be able to forgive him.”

Fairweather mouthed towards his parents “I don’t give a s***” as he was sent down. Mr Attfield’s family left the court in tears.