Life sentence for Chigwell man convicted of murder
- Credit: Kent Police
A Chigwell man has been jailed for life after being convicted of murdering a man in Northfleet.
Despite false claims of self-defence in a trial during which he lied about being tied up and knocked unconscious, a jury found Harry Harris guilty of the murder of 44-year-old James Webb following a six-week trial at Maidstone Crown Court.
He was sentenced at the same court on today (January 15) and will serve a minimum of 25 years before being considered for parole.
Harris, 29, 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 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: "This was a violent incident between two people who were known to each other which ended with tragic consequences.
"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. We also found evidence to prove that he took a knife to the scene.
"It was as a result of Harris’ actions that Mr Webb lost his life and I hope today’s sentencing provides some comfort to Mr Webb’s family."