A man who stabbed a woman to death as she was taking a food parcel to her two sons has been jailed for 41 years, the Metropolitan police said.
James Sinclair, 31, was handed the prison sentence after being found guilty of the murder of Shadika Patel and the attempted murder of a 48-year-old woman, after a trial at the Old Bailey.
Patel was waiting for a bus in East Ham when she was stabbed seven times by Sinclair during the early hours of 19 March 2020.
The 40-year-old had been on her way to deliver a food parcel to her teenage sons before the first coronavirus lockdown.
Sinclair stabbed her in the face, head and shoulders during the 20-second attack, before leaving her fatally injured on the pavement.
A member of the public who heard her scream called the police. Patel was taken to Newham general hospital, where she died despite the efforts of hospital staff.
Shadika Patel was waiting for a bus when she was stabbed seven times by James Sinclair in the early hours of 19 March 2020. Photograph: CPS/PA
Sinclair then struck again the following day in Islington, stabbing a lone woman in the face and body.
However, this time his victim survived. He fled the scene, but was arrested a week later after a police investigation.
Sinclair was convicted of one count of murder and one count of attempted murder at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.
On Friday, he was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum term of 41 years for murder, with a concurrent life imprisonment term, with a minimum of 18 years for the attempted murder, the Met said.
The force added the 830 days spent on remand in custody will be taken off this total sentence.
Sinclair refused to attend court during his trial and never gave an explanation for why he attacked the two women.
DCI Mark Rogers, speaking after the sentencing hearing, said: “I am pleased with the length of the prison sentence, which reflects the severity of James Sinclair’s crimes.
“This investigation demonstrates that the Met will act swiftly to arrest and prosecute anyone who commits this type of violent crime.
“James Sinclair will now spend the majority of the rest of his life in prison and will no longer pose a threat to anyone on the streets of London.”
DI John Marriott, the lead investigator, said: “James Sinclair’s actions have devastated the lives of Shadika’s friends and family and left her two teenage sons without a mother.
“It is incomprehensible why he chose to attack two lone women at night. Incidents such as this are rare and my team of detectives worked at pace to identify Sinclair before he could attack anyone else.
“Tackling violence against women and girls is an absolute priority for the Met. Every day our officers are working with partners across the capital to improve safety in our public spaces.
“Women should not have to change their behaviour and should be able to go about their business, feeling safe, any time of day or night. It’s our job to ensure that happens – but officers cannot be in all places at all times.
“I would urge our community, especially women, to report any suspicious or unwanted behaviour and seek help if you feel threatened.”