Man who stabbed mum-of-two to death in unprovoked attack at bus stop jailed

31-year-old James Sinclair faces spending the rest of his life behind bars

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A man who stabbed a mother-of-two to death and attempted to murder another woman 24 hours later in two "unprovoked" attacks has been jailed for life and will serve a minimum of 41 years.

James Sinclair, 31, was handed the prison sentence after being found guilty of the murder of Shadika Patel and the attempted murder of a 48-year-old woman, following a trial at the Old Bailey.

In the early hours of March 19, 2020, Ms Patel was waiting for a bus in East Ham when she was stabbed seven times by Sinclair.

James Sinclair
James Sinclair

The 40-year-old has been on her way to deliver a food parcel to her teenage sons ahead of the first coronavirus lockdown.

Sinclair stabbed her in the face, head and shoulders during the 20-second attack, before abandoning her fatally injured body on the pavement.

A member of the public who heard her scream called the police. Ms Patel was taken to Newham General Hospital, where she later died despite the efforts of hospital staff.

Sinclair then struck again the following day in Islington, stabbing a lone woman in the face and body.

The woman survived the brutal attack, leading to Sinclair's arrest a week later, following a police investigation.

Shadika Patel, 40, was waiting for a bus when she was stabbed seven times by James Sinclair, 31, during the early hours of March 19 2020
Shadika Patel, 40, was waiting for a bus when she was stabbed seven times by James Sinclair, 31, during the early hours of March 19 2020

He was convicted of one count of murder and one count of attempted murder at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.

The force confirmed the 830 days spent on remand in custody will be deducted from his total sentence.

Sinclair refused to attend court during his trial and never gave an explanation for why he attacked the two women.

Speaking after the hearing, Detective Chief Inspector Mark Rogers, said: “I am pleased with the length of the prison sentence, which reflects the severity of James Sinclair’s crimes.

“This investigation demonstrates that the Met will act swiftly to arrest and prosecute anyone who commits this type of violent crime.

“James Sinclair will now spend the majority of the rest of his life in prison and will no longer pose a threat to anyone on the streets of London.”

Detective Inspector John Marriott, the lead investigator, said: “James Sinclair’s actions have devastated the lives of Shadika’s friends and family and left her two teenage sons without a mother.

“It is incomprehensible why he chose to attack two lone women at night. Incidents such as this are rare and my team of detectives worked at pace to identify Sinclair before he could attack anyone else.

“Tackling violence against women and girls is an absolute priority for the Met. Every day our officers are working with partners across the capital to improve safety in our public spaces.

“Women should not have to change their behaviour and should be able to go about their business, feeling safe, any time of day or night. It’s our job to ensure that happens – but officers cannot be in all places at all times.

“I would urge our community, especially women, to report any suspicious or unwanted behaviour and seek help if you feel threatened.

“These appalling crimes have no place in our society. We are determined to bring perpetrators to justice, while improving safety for everyone in London.

“Everyone should be able to their lives free of the fear of violence.”