A DRUG addict has been sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering Faridon Alizadah and stabbing two 16-year-olds in a crack den on an Erith housing estate.
Lee James must serve a minimum of 25 years and 17 days after being found guilty of stabbing 18-year-old Faridon to death in Verona House on the Larner Road estate on January 5.
It was claimed in mitigation that he suffered from a personality disorder, and was having a drug-induced psychosis during the attack.
Southwark Crown Court heard on December 22 how Faridon had been inside a flat with two 16-year-old friends when James, formerly of Sutherland Road, Erith, came in at 3am.
The court heard the 32-year-old was a daily visitor to the flat and claimed to have already robbed it the previous week.
He had been there three or four times that day and returned with a friend having failed to get drugs from another dealer and intending to rob the boys.
James had a carving knife with a blade up to 12 inches long hidden in his jacket.
He and Michael Harwood bought a small amount of crack and went to a bedroom to smoke it.
Judge Anthony Pitts said: “It seems clear to me that Mr James had already decided what he was going to do, at least in the sense of robbing the occupants of drugs and money.”
He came out of the bedroom and plunged the knife into the back of one of the 16-year-olds’ neck.
Mr Pitts said: “The murder was in the end only of one person but that was sheer chance. He was wounded very, very seriously and was extremely lucky not to have been killed or incapacitated for life.”
He said: “From the evidence I’ve heard it does seem likely that Faridon was in the wrong place at the wrong time and it was sheer misfortune he ended up being killed.
“Faridon had the extraordinary courage it seem to me to attempt to confront Lee James, not only to protect himself but also to protect the other 16-year-old.
“It was, of course, a hopeless mismatch.
“He was literally cut to pieces by Lee James who went on to stab a third man, fortunately not so seriously.”
Even after being stabbed once, Faridon attempted to stop Mr James. It was only after receiving a second wound that he tried to escape but it was too late.
Afterwards James confessed to friends he had killed Mr Alizadah, saying he believed the boys were members of Al-Qaeda, plotting to blow up Bluewater shopping centre.
James, a former professional bare knuckle fighter, had a string of offences to his name going back to 1992 including a conviction for wounding in 1994 and for aggravated burglary in 1996 when he attacked his victim with a claw hammer.
In a statement, Faridon’s father Habib Alizadah revealed how he had moved Faridon from Afghanistan to England “to save the lives of himself and his family.”
James, formerly of Sutherland Road, Erith, had pleaded guilty to wounding the two 16-year-olds.
He was sentenced to 13 years for one of the counts of wounding and nine years for the other.
Both of these sentences are to run concurrently with the life sentence.
Michael Harwood, aged 33, of Willowcroft, Lee Park, Blackheath, was found not guilty of murder.