An innocent pedestrian will spend the rest of his life in prison for stabbing a motorist to death while he was making an emergency stop to save him from being run over.

Following a trial at Teesside Crown Court, Alexander Layton (34), was found guilty of the murder of James Stokoe (40%), in his BMW.

The four-year old son of Mr Stokoe was taken to his grandparents by his father. He had the child strapped into a car seat in the brutal attack.  

Peter Makepeace QC (prosecutor) told jurors Layton was on a bus from a trip at a food pantry when he crossed the busy main road. This caused Mr Stokoe, who had to stop sharply.

Layton had been carrying a kitchen knife inside his bag when the driver became angry.

The accused walked up to his victim and repeatedly stabbed them, leaving him with a lifeless body.

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

James Stokoe (a 40-year old married father) was attacked and killed by his BMW in Thornaby. Teesside in May 2020

Thornaby’s Layton denied the murder of Layton and possession an offensive weapon. He claimed self-defence but was unsuccessful. 

He was completely unknown to Mr. Stokoe who had worked in a local dealership.

Dashcam and CCTV footage revealed that Layton was almost run over while getting off the bus. Then, he stabbed Mr. Stokoe four additional times.

According to Mr Makepeace, “Clearly, Mr Stokoe must be shocked and angry about what had happened.”

“That may have been made worse by the fact that his son was riding in a booster in the rear of the vehicle.”

Emergency services were summoned and an air ambulance arrived on the spot. Mr Stokoe was pronounced dead at the wheel of the ambulance.

His wife, Durham University lab technician, called to inform him that the continuing incident was causing traffic problems in the region.

Layton ran away from the scene, dumped his carving tool, which was not found, and went camping near Great Ayton. The next night, he was taken into custody at a pizza place.

After deliberating less than 3 hours, the jury indicted him for murder and possession with an offensive firearm.

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

His four-year old son, Mr Stokoe, had been taken by him to visit his grandparents. He was then strapped into a car seat in the horrific attack.

Layton will be sentenced by Judge Howard Crowson on Tuesday

His words were: “In such serious cases, we require time to reflect.

“The penalty for murder is death in prison.”

According to the victim’s family, “Nothing can ever bring back James our love and we must live with what has happened the rest of my life.”

He will be missed greatly by everyone.

“James is a treasured friend and he was incredibly kind, gentle and caring. His loss will be felt by all of us.

Helen Barker, Temporary Detective Chief, stated outside court that it was shocking that James’ son witnessed the incident. This will have a profound effect on James.

“The loss of James had an impact on the entire family. My thoughts and prayers are with them during this time.”

She paid tributes and thanked Mr. Stokoe’s loved ones, as well as the numerous witnesses that assisted the police investigation.