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Yorkshire Ripper obsessed teen found guilty of two frenzied stabbing murders

James Fairweather
James Fairweather

A teenager who idolised the Yorkshire Ripper has been convicted of murdering two strangers in frenzied attacks.

James Fairweather, who was 15 at the time, stabbed James Attfield, 33, 102 times in a park in Colchester, Essex, in March 2014.

Three months later he knifed Saudi student Nahid Almanea, 31, as she walked along a nature trail in the town.

The 17-year-old, who can now be named after a reporting ban was lifted, admitted manslaughter, claiming he believed he was possessed by the devil and heard voices that compelled him to kill.

James Fairweather

He denied murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility but was convicted by a jury at Guildford Crown Court.

He was hunting a third victim when he was caught by police.

The teenager was "turned on" by serial killers and researched Ian Huntley, Myra Hindley and Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, of whom he had a picture on his phone.

His favourite serial killer was American Ted Bundy, who sexually assaulted, murdered and decapitated his victims.

He wanted to emulate the serial killers he idolised and fantasised about killing his headteacher and parents, the court heard.

James Attfield

The young killer had played violent computer games Call Of Duty and Grand Theft Auto since he was 13 years old.

And he had a stash of horror films including Wrong Turn: The Carnage Collection, a DVD about Sutcliffe and a book called The World's Worst Crimes.

After he killed, he obsessively looked up press coverage of the murders on the internet.

He spent his days thinking about "killing, raping and watching pornography", the jury of five men and seven women were told.

The double murder sparked a massive police hunt in Colchester, and the teenager did not attack again for another year.

He was arrested on May 26 last year while wearing gloves, armed with a lock knife and on the prowl for his third victim by the Salary Brook nature trail where he had already killed.

Fairweather, who has been diagnosed with autism, admitted the killings.

In police interviews he told detectives he heard voices, adding: "They said we need another sacrifice and I was going to get my third victim but there was no-one about."

His defence lawyers argued that he had full-blown psychosis and did not fully understand what he was doing.

But this was dismissed by prosecutor Philip Bennetts QC, who said the youth "understood his conduct at the time" and "was able to form a reasonable judgment".

He said Fairweather had made preparations for killing and "took steps to conceal afterwards" by throwing the murder weapon into a fast-flowing river.

The court heard that Fairweather lied about hearing voices and having hallucinations to try to get off the murder charges.

Psychiatrist Dr Philip Joseph said the teenager's description of hallucinations were "cliched" and "unconvincing".

He added: "It seems more like something you might see in a horror film."

Fairweather showed no reaction as the jury delivered its unanimous verdicts after deliberating for eight hours and 33 minutes.

Mr Justice Robin Spencer QC warned the teenager he faced a lengthy prison sentence, adding that the starting point for two murders for someone under 18 is 12 years.

He will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on Friday April 29.