Nathaniel Brown jailed for life for murdering Zandra Maxwell-Nelson

Mother-of-two from Harlesden was stabbed 20 times by ex-husband in front of their young sons

A man who murdered his ex-wife by stabbing her 20 times in front of their two young sons has been jailed for life.

Zandra Maxwell-Nelson, of Nicoll Road, Harlesden, died after 27-year-old Nathaniel Brown carried out his frenzied attack in Tottenham, north London, on April 20 last year.

The 24-year-old desperately tried to flee from Brown by running in to a parked car but he continued to stab her.

Witnesses told the court after the attack he dropped the knife, calmly removed his bloodstained shirt, and walked away from the scene.

On Tuesday he was convicted of her murder and today (Friday) he was sentenced to life with a minimum tariff of 21 years.

During his Old Bailey trial, Brown denied murder claiming he had no memory of the incident.

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Instead he admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

However, forensic psychiatrist Dr Paul Chesterman told the court that although Brown was severely depressed, he was not mentally ill at the time of the killing.

Ms Maxwell-Nelson was a month away from completing a degree at Thames Valley University and was involved in a community project to help disenfranchised young black youths.

The former pupil of John Kelly Girls’ School (now Crest Academy) was the mother of two boys who were aged just two and 18-months at the time.

She had been separated from Brown for more than a year when they bumped in to each other after she had been visiting his sister in Tottenham.

Shortly after the murder, Afiya Maxwell-Nelson, one of Zandra’s sisters, told the Times she was struggling to cope with the death of her sibling who was also her best friend.

She said: “Every day I wake up and I realise she’s gone and I’ll never see her again.

“She always saw the good in people, never the bad, and was always the first to help anyone.

“She will be so missed.

“Zandra may have gone but she still lives on in her two sons.”

Det Sgt Ash Hornsby, the investigating officer, said: “Brown has never explained his actions that day, instead seeking to rely on the defences of diminished responsibility and loss of control.

“The conviction of Brown for murder will undoubtedly provide a sense of justice for Zandra’s family but it will never replace Zandra herself.

“It is hoped they can now start to move forward with their lives and, at the right time, look to the future.”