Lee Jay Hatley murder: Bradley Wood jailed for life with minimum of 28 years behind bars
PUBLISHED: 11:41 01 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:52 01 December 2017
Lee Jay Hatley’s murderer was this morning jailed for life, with a recommendation he serve at least 28 years.
Bradley Wood, 25, was expressionless as the sentence was passed at the Old Bailey.
As he was led out of court, a member of Mr Hatley’s family shouted: “I hope you rot in hell, Bradley.” Wood then remonstrated, causing outraged shouting in the public gallery.
Dad-of-one Mr Hatley, 29, was stabbed to death after a night of drinking and smoking cannabis in friend Lauren Egan-Perkins’ flat in Westcliff House, Baxter Road, Canonbury, on June 26.
Wood, from Islington but of no fixed address, was convicted by a jury on Tuesday after a week-long trial.
Wood, who had 11 previous convictions – including grievous bodily harm in 2013 for biting a man’s cheek and causing a 7cm C-shaped cut – inflicted 29 stab wounds. One, to Mr Hatley’s face, was 4cm and penetrated his skull. Another wound to the neck was 7cm.
A victim impact statement by Mr Hatley’s mum, Lesley, was read out in court by prosecutor Duncan Atkinson. Wood kept his head down as the court heard: “My whole life changed when I heard what happened. I am still in a state of disbelief.
“When I first heard Bradley Wood was a suspect, I felt this was difficult to comprehend. But looking back, Lee never trusted Bradley. Bradley classed himself as his best friend, but it was never mutual. I can’t believe someone who knew him so long would do this to Lee.
“He has ripped our family apart. Lee wasn’t perfect, but he was my son. He thought of himself as our protector. On the night he died we could not be there to protect him. I can’t imagine to begin what Lee Jay was going through.”
Her statement continued: “Since Lee died I have become a shadow of my former self. I am empty and numb. A part of me died with Lee. I have been having regular counselling sessions. His sister, Lauren, is also suffering. Talking about him in the past tense is something I never thought I’d have to do.
“It’s difficult to tell his two-year-old son he’s gone. When Lee’s name is mentioned, he automatically looks around for him. He will grow up without a daddy and Lee will never see his son grow up.
“Lee and Bradley had known each other for 15 years. I am constantly reminded when I see Bradley’s family, who live across the road.
“I had to carry Lee’s coffin into the church. We’ve had to listen in court about how Lee died, how he suffered at Bradley’s hands and listen to lie after lie from Bradley. If he had decency, he would have admitted this from the outset.
“Bradley has done everything he can to save himself. I hope he’s in prison for a long time so he cannot harm others – and destroy other families.”
Wood had also been convicted of wounding Ms Egan-Perkins with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. During the incident, which happened in her bedroom, she was stabbed in the neck while asleep. Wood was given a 15-year sentence for this, but it will not be added to his murder sentence.
Judge Mark Dennis told Wood: “This was a brutal and frenzied attack on two people who had done nothing wrong. Only you know the true reason why you carried out such dreadful violence.
"[Bradley Wood] has ripped our family apart. Lee wasn’t perfect, but he was my son. He thought of himself as our protector. On the night he died we could not be there to protect him."
“It was only by pure chance that the stab wound to Lauren Egan-Perkins’ neck didn’t have the same result as the wound to Mr Hatley’s neck.
“You have no sense of responsibility and scant regard for anyone else but yourself.”
Nicholas Rhodes, Wood’s defence lawyer, had said in mitigation: “Something happened that caused the defendant to react in the way he did. If there was intent to kill Lee Jay, he left the scene without having done that.” Mr Hatley died in hospital later that day.
He added: “There was no suggestion of the impact of alcohol and cannabis.” Both sides said during the trial that Wood drank and smoked less than others that evening.
“We submit the defendant, throughout the proceedings, expressed clear remorse for what happened, and has undoubtedly been affected,” he finished.
After the sentencing, the Met this afternoon released another family statement reading: “As a family, we will never get over the loss of Lee. He was a larger-than-life character and the fact he was loved by so many was demonstrated when more than 300 people came to his funeral.
“Not only has Bradley Wood robbed us of a son and brother but his own son, Nicky, will never know his father growing up.
“As a family, Lee’s loss has brought us even closer together and together we will ensure that his memory lives on. Together we will ensure Nicky knows all about what a wonderful father he had from the great tales we will tell him.”