Identity of 16-year-old boy who murdered James Gibbons revealed

The 16-year-old boy who murdered father-of-four James Gibbons on the day of his twin daughters’ second birthday party has today been named as Joshua Sparks.

A High Court judge at Chelmsford Crown Court has revealed the identity of the teenager who killed Mr Gibbons, 34, at his daughter’s birthday party in Laindon, Essex in May.

Friday marked the first time Sparks’ name was revealed in court, as his identity was previously protected under reporting restrictions. 

The teenager is set to be sentenced on Friday after he was found guilty of murder by a majority verdict of 10 to two following trial.

Sparks had previously claimed he was acting in self-defence and denied committing murder, but this was rejected by a jury. 

James Gibbons (pictured), 34, was stabbed after rushing to the aid of a homeless man outside his house in Laindon, Essex, just moments after he had kindly given the man a plate of food

James Gibbons (pictured), 34, was stabbed after rushing to the aid of a homeless man outside his house in Laindon, Essex, just moments after he had kindly given the man a plate of food

James Gibbons (pictured), 34, was stabbed after rushing to the aid of a homeless man outside his house in Laindon, Essex, just moments after he had kindly given the man a plate of food

James Gibbons (pictured with his family), known locally as Gibbo, was stabbed on an estate that locals call 'Alcatraz' in Laindon, Essex, at around 9.30pm on Sunday May 2

James Gibbons (pictured with his family), known locally as Gibbo, was stabbed on an estate that locals call 'Alcatraz' in Laindon, Essex, at around 9.30pm on Sunday May 2

James Gibbons (pictured with his family), known locally as Gibbo, was stabbed on an estate that locals call ‘Alcatraz’ in Laindon, Essex, at around 9.30pm on Sunday May 2

Self-employed plumber James ‘Gibbo’ Gibbons was discovered with ‘multiple stab wounds’ as paramedics rushed to save him after he was attacked by a group of teenagers who had harassed a homeless man. 

The plumber known locally as ‘Gibbo’, was stabbed on an estate that locals nicknamed ‘Alcatraz’ in Laindon, Essex, at around 9.30pm on Sunday, May 2.

Witnesses described a chaotic scene in Iris Mews that afternoon, after youths riding scooters had spent the day drinking and screaming abuse at residents.

Mr Gibbons was trying to chase the teenage gang away from a homeless man they were harassing when he was attacked. 

Christopher French had been living on the streets when he ‘befriended’ Mr Gibbons in ‘the days before his death’ and went to the house in the ‘hope of being given food’ from a barbecue.

Mr Gibbons chased off two youths who had been causing trouble outside his home and harassing Mr French, but was confronted by a larger group of youngesters just 10 minutes later. 

Mr French said a boy hit him with a brick and Mr Gibbons then chased the group down an alleyway, where he was fatally stabbed by 16-year-old Joshua Sparks. 

A jury previously heard how Sparks boasted of how he was going to kill more people just hours after attacking Mr Gibbons. 

One friend, who cannot be named due to her age, asked the teenager if it was true that he’d stabbed Mr Gibbons.

‘Yeah, I did. I don’t care I’m a psychopath’, he reportedly said. 

The homeless man, Christopher French, had 'befriended' Mr Gibbons (pictured) in 'the days before his death' and went to the house in the 'hope of being given food' from a barbecue

The homeless man, Christopher French, had 'befriended' Mr Gibbons (pictured) in 'the days before his death' and went to the house in the 'hope of being given food' from a barbecue

The homeless man, Christopher French, had ‘befriended’ Mr Gibbons (pictured) in ‘the days before his death’ and went to the house in the ‘hope of being given food’ from a barbecue

Another witness alleged that the defendant had later titled a Snapchat story with the title ‘I just killed a man and I’ll do it again’. 

The jury was also shown CCTV footage of Mr Gibbons talking to a group of youths close to his home in the moments before he was fatally stabbed. 

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