Pedestrian jailed for stabbing driver to death in front of son

Alexander Layton, 34, was jailed for a minimum of 23 years (Image: PA)

A pedestrian who stabbed a driver to death in front of his son after the driver made an emergency stop to avoid him has been jailed.

Alexander Layton murdered James Stokoe, 40, in his BMW while his four-year-old son was strapped to the car seat.

A court heard the boy had been ‘significantly affected’ and needed treatment for the trauma following his father’s murder.

Layton, 34, from Shackleton Close, Thornaby, put Mr Stokoe on the brakes while crossing a busy main road after getting off a bus in Thornaby, Teesside, in May 2020.

Mr Stokoe ran up and yelled at Layton, who got into the car and repeatedly stabbed his victim with a 12in kitchen knife he was carrying in his backpack.

Judge Howard Crowson described Layton’s response as ‘disproportionate and unreasonable’ in sentencing him to prison on Tuesday.

He told the defendant: ‘Alexander Layton, you have been found guilty of murdering James Stokoe, using a 12in kitchen knife carried with you as an assault weapon.’

James Stokoe, 40, was stabbed to death in front of his young son (Image: PA)

The judge continued: ‘James Stokoe is a happy, successful and proud husband, father and son. He does nothing to justify your attack on him. ‘

Judge Crowson said the fatal wound was inflicted with such force that it penetrated Mr Stokoe’s thigh and that evidence showed the victim, who was still behind the wheel of his vehicle, was trying to turn away and ‘try to try to fend off’ the attack. .

The judge said Mr Stokoe was in a ‘vulnerable and defenseless position’ during the attack, which happened in broad daylight on a public street and was witnessed by many people .

He said: ‘In the car seat in the back of the car was Mr and Mrs Stokoe’s four-year-old son, who had been dramatically affected by all he had seen and lived in fear of an attack. similar work. “

CCTV and dashcam footage shows Layton getting off the bus, nearly being run over, and then stabbing Stokoe, who works at a local car dealership and is a complete stranger.

Emergency services were called but he bled to death within minutes and died in the back of the ambulance.

Layton fled the scene, dropped the knife that had yet to be found, and went camping in Great Ayton, before he was arrested the next night at a pizzeria.

Peter Makepeace QC, prosecutor, read the victim’s personal statement from Mr. Stokoe’s family.

His wife, Alex, describes how the murder affected her and her son.

She said: ‘I cannot describe the impact this has had on me and my family. It consumes everything in every respect and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. I am living a life sentence.

‘Tell your four-year-old that his dad is dead and won’t come home… To know your child has seen things no child should have seen or heard. “

Mrs Stokoe told Layton of her son: ‘He needs treatment because of the damage you’ve caused. A child should not panic in front of an open car window in case someone comes and injures them. ‘

The court heard that Layton had a number of previous convictions, including for violence against his biological mother, and had suffered from recurring mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.

Judge Crowson said Layton would serve a minimum of 23 years, less time in custody, and accept a concurrent sentence of two and a half years for possession of an assault weapon.

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Huynh Nguyen

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