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Archie Sheppard murder: John Doherty jailed for 21 years after stabbing Neasden bus passenger on top deck of 189

PUBLISHED: 18:01 09 March 2018 | UPDATED: 18:14 09 March 2018

John Doherty has admitted fatally stabbing a Neasden man (Picture: Met Police)

John Doherty has admitted fatally stabbing a Neasden man (Picture: Met Police)

Archant

The widow of a man murdered in an unprovoked attack as he slept on a bus has spoken of her relief after his killer was jailed this afternoon for 21 years and 8 months.

Archie Sheppard Archie Sheppard

In a statement, Odette Mbah, victim Archie Shepherd’s wife, said: “Although the result of the court hearing won’t ever bring my husband back and I will always miss Archie desperately, I can take some relief that the man responsible has finally admitted to what he has done.

“I will always wonder exactly why he did what he did and I now have to prepare myself for the fact that we may never find out the reason that he killed Archie,” she added.

Mr Sheppard, 48, had been out drinking with his killer – John Doherty – before the pair got on the 189 at Brent Cross just before midnight on April 27.

During Doherty’s trial, the court heard how he met up with Mr Sheppard in Willesden and the pair spent the day riding buses, eventually boarding a 189 headed towards central London.

Both men went to the top deck where Doherty sat at the back and Mr Sheppard a few rows in front, where he fell asleep. But as the bus left a stand in Park Lane, Doherty launched the unprovoked attack on a man he described as a friend, police said.

Mr Sheppard woke and tried to fend him off but the attack continued for three minutes with a fatal stab wound inflicted on an artery in his friend’s leg.

Soon after the attack Doherty fled before a passenger boarding the bus went to the top deck and found Mr Sheppard slumped in his seat, critically injured.

Paramedics tried to save his life but he died at the scene just after midnight. A post mortem confirmed he died as a result of blood loss.

Detectives identified Doherty from the bus’s CCTV and arrested him in Fulham the next day. He was found with two knives and the Oyster card he’d used before and after the murder.

Doherty pleaded guilty to the murder and three counts of possession of an offensive weapon one of which was used to commit the murder. He was sentenced at the Old Bailey to two years imprisonment for each count, to run at the same time as the murder sentence.

After thanking police, Ms Mbah said: “Doherty is a violent and dangerous man. I am pleased that he won’t be a danger to the public for some considerable time.”

Det Insp Simon Deefholts, who led the investigation, said: “The motive for Archie Sheppard’s murder remains unclear. Only John Doherty can say why he chose to murder Archie in such a cowardly and brutal manner while Archie was defenceless, asleep on a bus.

“The overwhelming evidence gathered by my team left Doherty with no option other than to admit his guilt in court.

“Doherty is a dangerous man who routinely chose to arm himself with knives. He was found in possession of two further knives when officers arrested him a day after Archie’s murder. The public should be reassured we will do everything in our power to apprehend those carrying or using knives,” he added.

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