Old Bailey trial for man accused of murdering Eastbourne dad

James Harris Durkin
James Harris Durkin

A MAN has appeared in court charged with murdering Eastbourne father-of-three James Durkin.

Twenty-one-year-old James was found with serious head injuries in Orpington, Kent, last Tuesday - having spent the day before at a barbecue with friends and family.

He was taken to hospital but died hours later after the heartbreaking decision was taken to turn his life support machine off.

Initially police did not suspect foul play but a subsequent post mortem revealed his injuries had been caused by a blow to the head and the Met Police launched a murder investigation.

On Tuesday night 25-year-old Liam Smith, from St Paul’s Cray, in Orpington, was charged with murder and appeared at Bromley Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday morning.

He was remanded in custody and will stand trial for murder at the Old Bailey in September. He also faces a charge of perverting the course of justice.

Meanwhile flowers and football tops have been left outside the home of James’ family in Orpington and tributes left on Facebook from his friends in Eastbourne.

Teresa Weir posted, “Today I woke up hoping the last two days was a bad dream...sadly it was real.”

And Megan Stacey wrote, “Our house won’t be the same without you James! No more arguing with my mum over her always giving you a ciggy, no more pizza making or water fights lol. But you’re safe now. Your dad’s missing you so much, the same as all of us... Sweet dreams xxx.”

James had enjoyed a jubilee celebration barbecue with his friends and family in Court Road, Orpington, on Monday but in the early hours of Tuesday morning was discovered at the bottom of some stairs leading from one road to another.