Two men have today (26/2) been given lengthy prison sentences for their involvement in the death of teenager Josh Harling in Thame on 22 July last year.
20-year-old Nathan Braim from Broadwaters Avenue, Thame, was convicted by unanimous jury verdict last Thursday (18/2) of murder, conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm with intent and possession of an offensive weapon following a trial lasting seven weeks at Oxford Crown Court.
19-year-old Benjamin Eyles from Monks Hollow, Marlow Bottom, was cleared of murder, but was found guilty by unanimous jury verdict of manslaughter and conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm with intent.
In today’s sentencing hearing, Braim was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 19 years.
Eyles was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment.
The convictions of Braim and Eyles related to two incidents in July last year, the second of which, on 22 July, resulted in the death of Mr Harling, who was 19-years-old.
At around 7.05pm on 22 July, Mr Harling was found in an upturned Volkswagen Polo in Chinnor Road, Thame, with serious injuries.
This was initially believed to have been a road traffic collision, but Mr Harling was found to have been stabbed in the chest, which had been caused by Braim in an altercation just moments earlier.
Four days before the incident that led to Mr Harling’s death, Braim and Eyles had been looking for their victim in Elms Park, Thame, arriving at the park armed with long poles, and intending to cause him serious injuries.
They failed to locate Mr Harling on that occasion, and did not see him again until the night that he died.
Braim and Eyles were both 19-years-old at the time and were close friends, and Eyles was involved in the supply of drugs.
After failing to locate Mr Harling on 18 July, Braim and Eyles were together in Thame four days later, when they spotted Mr Harling in his Volkswagen Polo.
On more than one occasion, they drove past Mr Harling, and at around 7pm, a violent altercation occurred in Cotmore Close between Mr Harling, Braim and Eyles.
During this short, but frenzied altercation, which lasted less than one minute, Mr Harling was stabbed in the chest by Braim. This injury did not cause Mr Harling to collapse straight away, and he ran back to his car to try to make his escape.
Braim ran up to Mr Harling’s car, stamping on the rear windscreen, causing it to shatter, before Mr Harling drove away into Essex Road and onto Chinnor Road.
Tragically, the injury that Mr Harling had sustained was very serious, and he quickly began to feel unwell, losing control of his car in Chinnor Road, before colliding with parked vehicles and overturning onto the roof.
An ambulance was called, and members of the public also tried in vain to save Mr Harling’s life, but despite their best efforts, tragically, Mr Harling died at the scene.
A Home Office post-mortem examination concluded the cause of Mr Harling’s death to be a stab wound to the chest.
Braim was subsequently charged with murder on 26 July 2020 and conspiring with Eyles to commit GBH with intent on 9 October. He was also charged with possession of an offensive weapon in a public place.
Eyles was charged with murder and conspiring to commit GBH with intent on 29 September.
Following a trial, the jury convicted both Braim and Eyles in connection with Mr Harling’s death, Braim convicted of murder and Eyles the alternative count of manslaughter.
Senior Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Mike Roddy, of Thames Valley Police’s Major Crime Unit, said: “Braim and Eyles have now been sentenced to significant terms of imprisonment as a direct result of their actions both on 18 July and 22 July."
Detective Chief Inspector Dave Horsburgh, Head of Crime for the South Oxfordshire & Vale of White Horse Local Policing Area, said: “This tragic incident shocked the community of Thame. This case highlights the dangers of being involved in the supply or consumption of drugs in the Thames Valley and across the country."