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Rejection drove our son to kill

PUBLISHED: 14:30 04 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:37 03 March 2010

THE stunned parents of a Suffolk murderer today spoke of their horror and disbelief after he was jailed for life for killing his ex-girlfriend in a frenzied knife attack.

THE stunned parents of a Suffolk murderer today spoke of their horror and disbelief after he was jailed for life for killing his ex-girlfriend in a frenzied knife attack.

Jilted lover Mark Spurling, 41, stabbed shop assistant Linda Close 14 times after she complained to police that he had indecently assaulted her. He admitted the charge of murder.

After his sentencing at Chelmsford Crown Court, his elderly mother Christine said from her Cavan Road home: "He sort of gets het up in the amount of time he spends with these people. He hates to be rejected. But there's not a lot I can say at a time like this."

Spurling, of Rylstone Way, Saffron Walden, had lain in wait before attacking Mrs Close, 45, of The Glebe, Saffron Walden, as she went to open up a Spar Supermarket in the town.

Mrs Spurling added: "He never seemed that type of person. I know had convictions before but at that time he was suffering from mental illness."

Spurling, a former pupil Westbourne High School, was jailed for five years in 1991 after he repeatedly stabbed another ex-girlfriend, mother-of-six Margaret Paton, 36, outside her Goldsmith Road home in Ipswich. Mrs Paton, who subsequently remarried and now has the surname Hill, needed intensive surgery to save her life.

Mrs Spurling added that it was "50/50" that he then suffered from some sort of psychosis.

Admitting the sentence yesterday was a "shock", she said: "I can't believe it. His twin brother [Christopher] can't bring himself to talk about it."

Spurling's father Basil agreed it was a "terrible shock", adding: "And it will be for years to come."

Peter Carter QC, prosecuting, told Chelmsford Crown Court how Mrs Close met her killer in August last year through a dating agency. He moved into her home in November.

"The relationship began to deteriorate, it blew hot and cold," said Mr Carter.

On March 15 Spurling visited Mrs Close at her request. Later Mrs Close told police he had indecently assaulted her.

Spurling was arrested later that day when he said that although there had been sexual activity between them, it had been entirely consensual.

He was bailed on condition that he stayed in Ipswich, but bail was later varied to allow him to carry on his job in Saffron Walden.

But at 6.40am on April 2 Mrs Close went to open up the Spar Supermarket. She opened the gates and was assisted by a regular customer Roy Frewin.

Spurling burst through the gates armed with a knife stabbing Mrs Close time and time again."

Mr Frewin tried to intervene by grabbing an aluminium pole, but his attempts to fight off Spurling came to nothing. He then called out for help saying "He's killing her."

Spurling inflicted 14 separate stab wounds about the head, neck, chest and back. She was taken to hospital by ambulance but died later from multiple stab wounds.

The court heard that Spurling had a previous conviction in 1987 for causing actual bodily harm when he was given a conditional discharge and in March 1991 at Norwich Crown Court he was jailed for five years for wounding Mrs Hill with intent.

In 1990 their relationship came to an end and he could not accept it. He waylaid Mrs Hill armed with a gun and a knife. He struck her about the head with the firearm and stabbed her with the knife several times in the neck and upper thigh.

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