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CCTV shows the road rage argument that lead to BMW-driving father being stabbed to death

A road rage killer stepped out in front of a BMW driver before stabbing him to death as his four-year-old son watched in horror from the back seat, new footage shows.

Alexander Layton, 34, got off a bus and cut off 40-year-old James Stokoe’s car before the savage attack, the CCTV reveals.

The driver was angry and pulled over to shout at Layton, not knowing he was carrying a kitchen knife in his rucksack.

Mr Stokoe was on the way home from visiting his parents and his wife Alex, a lab technician at Durham University, tried to call him to warn traffic was bad due to the killing.

Layton was yesterday convicted of murdering Mr Stokoe in Thornaby, Teesside, in May 2020.

A judge at Teesside Crown Court today sentenced Layton to a minimum of 23 years in prison.

Alexander Layton, 34, got off a bus and cut off 40-year-old James Stokoe’s car before the savage attack, the CCTV reveals

Layton was yesterday convicted of murdering Mr Stokoe in front of his four-year-old son in Thornaby, Teesside, in May 2020

Layton was yesterday convicted of murdering Mr Stokoe in front of his four-year-old son in Thornaby, Teesside, in May 2020

CCTV also captured the moment the thug (pictured in a mugshot) was arrested in a pizza shop, as police busted him before he was served

CCTV also captured the moment the thug (pictured in a mugshot) was arrested in a pizza shop, as police busted him before he was served

Cleveland Police yesterday issued this photo of James Stokoe with his son Harry

Cleveland Police yesterday issued this photo of James Stokoe with his son Harry

The new footage showed Layton get off the back of a bus wearing shorts, a polo shirt and carrying a plastic bag containing a large knife.

He appeared to say thank you to the driver as he stepped off and walked ahead of the vehicle.

The driver then pulled away as Layton let it pass before he walked out into the road in front of the BMW.

The white car slammed on its brakes before the driver got out and shouted at Layton.

He got back in the vehicle and pulled over at the side of the road close to the pedestrian.

Witnesses said Mr Stokoe shouted: ‘Are you f****** daft? I nearly knocked you over. I’ve got a kid in this car.’

Layton, on the other side of the road at this point, apparently shouted back: ‘Are you talking to me? F*** off. I’m here. Come over. Come on.’

The killer stabbed Mr Stokoe three times in the leg and once in the arm before fleeing on foot.

CCTV also captured the moment the thug was arrested in a pizza shop, as police busted him before he was served.

He slowly turned around to face officers while wearing headphones, a baseball cap and carrying a rucksack.

He crawled on to his knees before lying prone as policemen swooped in to handcuff the killer.

CCTV also captured the moment the thug was arrested in a pizza shop, as police busted him before he was served

CCTV also captured the moment the thug was arrested in a pizza shop, as police busted him before he was served

His conviction yesterday allowed Cleveland Constabulary to release the evidence as well as tributes from his family.

Yesterday Layton was convicted of murdering Mr Stokoe following a trial at Teesside Crown Court.

Mr Stokoe had taken his four-year-old to see his grandparents and the boy was strapped in a car seat during the horrific attack.  

Peter Makepeace QC, prosecuting, told jurors Layton got off a bus after a trip to a food bank when he crossed a busy main road, causing Mr Stokoe to brake sharply.

The driver was angry and pulled over to shout at Layton, not knowing he was carrying a kitchen knife in his rucksack.

The defendant walked up to the car and, with his victim still behind the wheel, repeatedly stabbed him, causing him to bleed to death within minutes.

Yesterday Layton was convicted of murdering Mr Stokoe (pictured with his wife Alex) following a trial at Teesside Crown Court

Yesterday Layton was convicted of murdering Mr Stokoe (pictured with his wife Alex) following a trial at Teesside Crown Court

Mr Stokoe (pictured) had taken his four-year-old to see his grandparents and the boy was strapped in a car seat during the horrific attack

James Stokoe, a 40-year-old married father, was stabbed to death in his BMW in Thornaby, Teesside, in May 2020

Mr Stokoe (pictured) had taken his four-year-old to see his grandparents and the boy was strapped in a car seat during the horrific attack

Layton, from Thornaby, denied murder and possessing an offensive weapon, unsuccessfully claiming self-defence. 

Mr Stokoe, who worked at a local car dealership, was a complete stranger.

Mr Makepeace said: ‘Clearly Mr Stokoe must have been shocked, indeed angry, about the near miss that had occurred.

‘That might have been compounded by the fact (his son) was in a booster seat in the back of the car.’

The emergency services were called and an air ambulance landed at the scene but Mr Stokoe died in the back of an ambulance.

His wife, a lab technician at Durham University, even called him to warn traffic was bad in the area due to the ongoing incident.

Layton fled the scene, dumped the carving knife, which has not been found, and went camping in Great Ayton, before he was arrested the next night in a pizza shop.

The jury convicted Layton of murder and possessing an offensive weapon after deliberating for less than three hours. Pictured: The scene of the attack

The jury convicted Layton of murder and possessing an offensive weapon after deliberating for less than three hours. Pictured: The scene of the attack

In the hours immediately before the attack, Layton had threatened to murder a man who owed him money, and his family, the court heard earlier in the case.

Earlier still on the same day he had texted a contact to share conspiracy theories about 5G masts, Mr Makepeace said.

In the early hours of that day, he also emailed Stockton Borough Council to say he needed help with food and fuel and was feeling suicidal.

The jury convicted him of murder and possessing an offensive weapon after deliberating for less than three hours.

Judge Howard Crowson said: ‘In a case of this sort of seriousness we need time to reflect. The sentence for murder is life in prison.’

The victim’s family said: ‘Nothing will ever bring back our beloved James and we have to live with the consequences of what happened for the rest of our lives.

‘He was a much-loved husband, father, son and son-in-law and he is dearly missed by all of us.

‘James was treasured by so many people with his wonderful, kind and gentle nature and his loss to us all is unimaginable.’

Outside court, Temporary Detective Superintendent Helen Barker said: ‘This was a shocking incident which occurred in the presence of James’ young son, which will undoubtedly have had a huge effect on him.

‘The death of James has had a traumatic impact on his whole family and my thoughts remain with them at this difficult time.’

She paid tribute to Mr Stokoe’s family and thanked the many witnesses who came forward to help the police inquiry.


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