United Kingdom

Boy, 16, charged with murdering father-of-four James Gibbons 'when he tried to help homeless man' 

A 16-year-old boy has been charged with the murder of James Gibbons who was stabbed to death in Laindon, Essex Police said. 

The 'amazing' father-of-four was killed when he interrupted his twin daughters' birthday barbecue to give a homeless man leftovers, witnesses said.

Mr Gibbons, 34, a plumber known locally as Gibbo, was stabbed on an estate that locals call 'Alcatraz' in Laindon, Essex, at around 9.30pm on Sunday.

Friends say that father-of-four James Gibbons, 34, was stabbed after trying to chase a violent teenage gang away from a homeless man he had offered barbecue leftovers to

Mr Gibbons, who was engaged to his partner of 11 years, was found with stab wounds and died at the scene despite efforts by paramedics. 

The family had been celebrating his two-year-old twins' birthday barbecue when 'Gibbo' intervened after a young gang were allegedly attacking a homeless man.  

Mr Gibbons' family have described him as a loving father who would always look out for anyone less fortunate than himself.

His mother, Wendy, has returned to the UK from her Spanish home to support the family - six years after her 26-year-old son, Ashley, passed away after an epileptic fit.

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

In a statement, the family said: 'James was an amazing father of four young children, engaged to his partner of 11 years, and was a loving and supportive son and brother.

'James was a hard-working family-orientated man, who ran his own bathroom fitting company and was looking forward to a positive future for him and his family.'

They added: 'This tragedy occurred after he had spent the day celebrating his two-year-old twin girls' birthday at home and we are absolutely broken beyond belief at this pointless loss which has had a devastating effect on us all.

'James was the kind of person who would always be prepared to help anyone less fortunate than himself, which is what he was doing on Sunday night.

Police have since arrested three boys and two girls aged between 13 and 16 in connection with the killing

'As a family we are urging anyone to come forward with any information that may help the police as they investigate James' death in the hope we can get justice.' 

Police had arrested three boys and two girls aged between 13 and 16 in connection with the killing.  

Mr Gibbons had proudly posted loving family photos on his Facebook page which feature his partner and four young children.

Flowers paying tribute to 'Gibbo' have been left outside a property where locals say the stabbing happened.  

The emotional tributes state: 'Gibbo, you really was one in a million. I can't believe you are gone I will cherish the memories… you have been taken from us far too soon, but may you rest in eternal peace.  

Mr Gibbons was found in Iris Mews with stab wounds and died at the scene despite efforts by paramedics

'Love ya Gibbo.'

Another friend, Kerri Goss, sent her condolences via social media, writing: 'I have never known a family to have a bond that even comes close to theirs.

'That's how I know you'll get through this, forever looking out for each other, extending to friends that became family, never leaving one person not knowing how much they are loved and appreciated.

'They lived life to the fullest each and every day. I feel blessed to have known their huge personalities, loved by the biggest hearts and felt the uniqueness they brought into the world.

'My thoughts are with all of your family, everyone will forever hold you in their hearts and cherish the memories you graced us with, rest in eternal paradise.'

Kayleigh Bartholomew added: 'In shock, a caring man till the end, that man a true gent. Sleep tight James Gibbons.

'You're with your baby bro again now as much as it kills me to write that.

'Love you always thinking of your family forever in our hearts. Rest in perfect paradise boys.'

Pictured: Police at the scene in Iris Mews in Laindon, Essex

The killing unfolded on the estate which is known as Alcatraz, a famous American prison - due to its fortress-like appearance.   

Speaking to BBC Essex, detective chief inspector Stephen Jennings said: 'It's early stages to piece together exactly what's happened and why.

'We believe the victim was coming to the aid of another man who was in the area and was attacked by one or more of the youths which appears to have cost him his life.

'We're really keen to hear from anyone that was in that area, may have seen something happen, or even just heard in the local area what could have taken place and who could have been involved.'

In a later statement he added: 'It is a tragic loss of life and we are continuing to appeal for the public's help.

'We are really keen to hear from anyone who was in the area at the time and may have seen or heard anything happen in Iris Mews shortly before 9.30pm on Sunday.

'We are also keen to hear from anyone who has seen any discarded weapons in the area.

Police have since arrested three boys and two girls in connection with the killing. Pictured: Police at the scene

The victim was found in Iris Mews with stab wounds and died at the scene despite efforts by paramedics. Pictured: Police at the scene

'If anyone knows anything about this murder and has not yet come forward to speak to us, please do.

'A family has been broken apart, and we need to get to the bottom of what happened.'

A resident of the estate, who didn't want to be named, told the Echo: 'It's not safe.

'I am not going out anymore, it's not safe for the children anymore. Normally you hear a lot through the windows, but we didn't even hear screaming. 

'A stabbing or crime is just normal down here. It used to be a lovely area.'

Another resident said: 'It's disgusting. You can't walk around now without looking around and over both shoulders.' 

Four teenagers were arrested on the night, with another picked up on Monday.

Two of the teenagers have since been released on bail until May 25 and May 28, a further child was released on bail overnight and two others remain in custody. 

Football news:

Scotland coach Clarke: There were a lot of good moments during the group stage, but no points scored
England are the most boring group winners in history. Two goals were enough! And at the World Cup, the Italians once became the first even with one
Dalic - to the fans after reaching the Euro playoffs: You are our strength, and we will be your pride
Modric became the youngest and oldest goalscorer in Croatia at the Euro
Czech Republic coach Shilgava: We came out of the group and fought with England for the first place. We got what we wanted
Gareth Southgate: England wanted to win the group and continue to play at Wembley-and it succeeded
Luka Modric: When Croatia plays like this, we are dangerous for everyone