Chigwell man found guilty of murder in Northfleet

Harry Harris, 29, of Chigwell, has been found guilty of murdering James Webb in Northfleet.

Harry Harris, 29, of Chigwell, has been found guilty of murdering James Webb in Northfleet. - Credit: Kent Police

A man from Chigwell was found guilty of a murder in Northfleet, after a six-week trial in which he lied about being knocked unconscious after getting tied up, claiming self-defence.

Harry Harris, 29, was found guilty of the murder of 44-year-old James Webb, following the trial at Maidstone Crown Court, today (January 11).

Harris was arrested on February 4, 2020 after Kent Police officers were called to a flat in Hammerton Road, Northfleet, at 2.46am.

Mr Webb was found seriously injured with stab wounds and was later declared dead at the scene.

Two days after he was arrested Harris was charged with murder and possession of a knife.

During the trial, jurors were told Harris had known Mr Webb for a number of years and owed him money. 

Harris had initially claimed he attended the flat to pay some of the money owed.

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He gave a false account claiming that he was assaulted and tied to a chair by two other unknown men, before he lost consciousness.

During the early investigation, Harris told officers he woke up to find only Mr Webb in the room and claimed he tried to run away.

He said he was acting in self-defence when he got into an altercation with Mr Webb, who was left seriously injured when Harris fled the flat.

At court, Harris admitted large parts of his initial account were a lie and retracted his claims about the two other men. 

He stated in court that he knew Mr Webb was dead when he left and he made a misleading call to the emergency services.

He maintained, however, that he acted in self-defence and Mr Webb had attacked him.

He also admitted taking a knife to the scene but claimed it was for self-defence.

During the trial, he also said that he disposed of phones linked to him and Mr Webb after the incident.

Detective Inspector Garry Cook, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "After a detailed investigation we did not find any evidence of any other people being at the property and it was proven Harris lied and exaggerated the situation in order to set out what he believed was a sound defence.

"It was as a result of Harris’ actions that Mr Webb lost his life and I hope the verdict provides at least some comfort to Mr Webb’s family."

Harris will be sentenced on Friday (January 15).