Murder accused defence makes closing speech to jury

Winsford Road in Bury St Edmunds where Neil Charles was fatally wounded

Neil Charles (inset) died after suffering a knife wound in Winsford Road, Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Archant/Supplied

A Suffolk father accused of fatally stabbing a convicted thief and burglar hadn’t done any of the things someone trying to evade justice would do, his barrister has told a court.

In his closing speech to a jury at Ipswich Crown Court Jason Bartfeld QC said that David King could have deleted Ring doorbell footage which showed him and his son Edward leaving their home shortly before the stabbing.

He said someone trying to evade justice wouldn’t have called 999 to report what had happened and would have tried to dispose of the knife used in the alleged attack.

Mr Bartfeld said it wasn’t credible that someone like David King would risk losing everything for the sake of a “petty slight” committed by 45-year-old Neil Charles by trying his car door handle.

He said the prosecution had portrayed 55-year-old King as a “psychotic vigilante who had been lying in wait for his opportunity to vent his fury on a poor unsuspecting thief.”

However, he said King was of exceptional positive good character with an exceptional work history.

In addition he had been described by character witnesses as being a “hardworking, honest, family man who avoided conflict” and as being “calm, self controlled and rational”. 

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Mr Bartfeld said Mr Charles’ previous convictions showed he was a recidivist burglar and thief and that in the past he’d carried weapons and had committed crimes with a partner.

King, of Radnor Close, Bury St Edmunds and his 19-year-old son Edward King have denied murdering Mr Charles on June 20 last year and an alternative charge of manslaughter. 

It has been alleged that the pair hunted down  Mr Charles and stabbed him after he tried the door handles of cars parked outside their home.

Christopher Paxton QC, prosecuting,  has claimed they delivered their "own form of justice" on Mr Charles in the early hours of the morning around 70 metres from their family home.

Mr Charles suffered a 12cm single stab wound to the chest and a slash wound to his knee and died two days later.

Mr Paxton said Mr Charles had a "long career" as a thief and burglar and the prosecution accepted he was out that night stealing or looking to steal. 

Mr Paxton claimed the defendants had an "obsession" with weapons and at their home had knives, knuckledusters, machetes, and shotguns - which David King had licences for as a registered firearms holder. 

During the trial David King claimed that Mr Charles suffered the fatal knife wound to his chest after running on to a military knife he was holding in his outstretched hand.

He claimed he had pulled the knife out of his pocket after Mr Charles threw his bike at him and seeing Mr Charles’ hand hovering near his pocket.

He admitted failing to mention in a 999 call shortly after the incident that his son Edward had left their house with a 27 inch Ninja sword on the night in question and said he wanted to leave his son out of it as he hadn’t been present when Mr Charles suffered the fatal wound.

Edward King chose not to give evidence during the trial.