Murder accused denies being angry after 'thumbs up' gesture from victim

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

David King has continued giving evidence as he and his son stand trial for the murder of Neil Charles - Credit: Archant/Supplied

A Suffolk father-of-two accused of taking the law into his own hands and killing a thief has denied being angry after seeing him make a “thumbs up” sign at a security camera after trying the door handles of cars outside his home.

During his third day in the witness box at Ipswich Crown Court David King said he had thought the gesture was “odd” but wasn’t sure if he’d actually seen 47-year-old Neil Charles make the thumbs up sign on security footage before he went out looking for him.

King told the court Mr Charles appeared to be carrying something which he thought could be a knife or a screwdriver.

Cross-examined by prosecution counsel Christopher Paxton QC, 55-year-old King accepted that when he made a 999 call to police after Mr Charles was stabbed in the chest by his knife he hadn’t mentioned he thought he could be carrying a weapon.

He also accepted that he hadn’t warned a police officer who arrived at the scene to be careful as Mr Charles could have a knife.

“I didn’t have the luxury of lots of thinking time,” said King who was given a break after becoming emotional during his evidence.

King, 55, of Radnor Close, Bury St Edmunds and his 19-year-old son Edward have denied murdering Mr Charles on June 20 last year and an alternative charge of manslaughter. 

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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.

Mr Paxton 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. 

The trial continues.