A TEENAGE killer who stabbed a much-loved father to death before fleeing justice has been convicted of murder following a trial.

Tieran Carmody, 19, inflicted a single stab wound on 35-year-old Max Richardson near Joyners Field, Harlow, on Monday August 21 last year.

Mr Richardson had approached Carmody alongside neighbours to ask why he was loitering near a play park, making children feel uncomfortable, when a scuffle ensued before the 19-year-old pushed the victim and retrieved a bladed weapon from his backpack.

He stabbed the victim once through the stomach while Mr Richardson held his hands up in a surrendering motion.

A manhunt was launched and images of Carmody, taken from doorbell and CCTV footage, were analysed and released to the public. Rather than hand himself in, he evaded Essex Police's efforts to find him and went on the run.

Epping Forest Guardian: Barnett and Carmody captured on CCTV leaving a pub in Benfleet in the days following the murderBarnett and Carmody captured on CCTV leaving a pub in Benfleet in the days following the murder (Image: Essex Police)

The force says officers were able to build a timeline of his movements, establishing he was helped in the days following by 19-year-old Harrison Barnett, of St Marys Crescent, Basildon.

Carmody and Barnett were captured on CCTV at a shop in Pitsea, and leaving a pub in Benfleet, in the days following the murder.

The investigation revealed Barnett had provided shelter to Carmody, allowing him to use his mobile phone to speak with friends and family, and to conduct the internet searches.

On Barnett’s phone, officers found searches for the Essex Police appeal and news articles covering the stabbing.

A further internet search queried how a person can leave the country without a passport.

This police led to Carmody's arrest less than a week later on Sunday August 27, in Basildon.

Epping Forest Guardian: Carmody captured on CCTV at a shop in Pitsea in the days following the murderCarmody captured on CCTV at a shop in Pitsea in the days following the murder (Image: Essex Police)

Barnett was arrested and later denied a charge of perverting the course of justice, but stood trial alongside Carmody and was convicted.

Today, Carmody was unanimously convicted of murder by a jury at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Both men will be sentenced at a later date.

Detective chief inspector Ashley Howard, of the force's serious crime directorate, said: “Firstly and most importantly, I must address the fact the victim, a family man with young children, lost his life in the most cruel and needless fashion.

“Max had everything ahead of him. Instead, he was killed for simply caring about the safety of his neighbourhood.

“He died because Carmody chose to carry a large knife with him, a knife Carmody stated he carried for safety, however it was this weapon he used to murder a stranger.

“Carmody murdered Max for no other reason than he felt affronted that someone had dared to stand up to him.

“He stabbed Max deliberately and with purpose, intending to cause at the very least, serious harm to his victim.

“Nothing will give Max’s family their loved son, partner, father, brother and friend back.

Epping Forest Guardian: Convicted - Tieran CarmodyConvicted - Tieran Carmody (Image: Essex Police)

“They have been supported throughout our investigation and the trial by specialist family liaison officers, but they must in their own way each now come to terms with a future without Max.

“Hopefully, they can draw some small amount of solace from the knowledge his killer has been brought to justice.

“Right from the outset of this investigation, when we received a call reporting Max had been seriously assaulted, a dedicated team of officers and staff were committed to apprehending the person responsible.

“There is never a good reason to carry a knife in public, particularly a knife of this horrifying nature, and no world in which it can be justified.

“Carmody has forever blighted the life of his victim’s family, but he has also ruined his own life.

“He can rightly expect to spend many years behind bars.”

Epping Forest Guardian: Loved - Max RichardsonLoved - Max Richardson (Image: Essex Police)

Witnesses at the scene described the assault as a calm and deliberate act, with Carmody returning the blade to its sheath following the attack, stowing it back inside his rucksack and fleeing the scene on his bicycle.

Officers and paramedics provided immediate care to Max, but he was sadly pronounced dead while en-route to hospital.

In a statement issued before the trial, Max’s family said: “Our beloved Max. Son, fiancé, father, brother, friend.

“Max, the life and soul of us all.

“Always will be in the hearts of his family and his children who miss him dearly. Words cannot describe the pain we are all feeling right now.

“He will be solely remembered for the person that he was. Funny, caring and always there for his young children.

“Rest in peace now our beloved Max, always and forever in our thoughts and hearts.”