Father and son allegedly 'hunted and murdered' thief, jury hears

Two men arrested in connection with the murder of Neil Charles have been released from bail, but remain under investigation

Neil Charles died from a stab wound in June 2021 - Credit: Suffolk police/Supplied by the family

A father and son allegedly hunted a thief who had earlier tried the door handles of cars parked outside their home before stabbing him in the chest, a jury has heard. 

David King, 55, and Edward King, 19, allegedly delivered their "own form of justice" on Neil Charles, 47, in the early hours of Sunday, June 20 last year, Ipswich Crown Court heard. 

The father and son armed themselves "with at least two weapons" and allegedly attacked Mr Charles around 70 metres from their family home in Radnor Close on the Moreton Hall estate in Bury St Edmunds, the prosecution said. 

Chris Paxton QC, prosecuting, told the jury it was an act of "vigilante violence meted out by this father and son team". 

"They were determined to settle matters in their own violent way," he added.

Mr Charles suffered a 12cm single stab wound to the chest in Winsford Road, and died from his injuries two days later.

Mr Paxton told the jury that Mr Charles had a "long career" as a thief and burglar and while "scouting the local area" had tried the car door handles outside the King family home. 

The father and son then left "the safety of their own home" armed with weapons and "working together hunted and murdered Mr Charles," Mr Paxton said. 

Most Read

Both a knife and a sword, which were shown to the jury, were recovered by police. 

Zouave Gooden, 19, from Romford, pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin in Ipswich. 

The murder trial has begun at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Mr Paxton said that during the course of the murder trial, jurors will hear that there was "a darker side" to the father and son relationship. 

He said the pair had an "obsession" and "fascination" with weapons and following the death of Mr Charles, numerous items were discovered at the King family home. 

These included knives, knuckledusters, machetes, and shotguns - of which David King had licences for as a registered firearms holder. 

Two years before the alleged murder, in June 2019, David King's wife had four wheels stolen from her BMW M3, the court heard. 

Mr Paxton read a message that David King had sent to his wife following the incident, referring to those responsible, saying: "Scum needs to die." 

Further messages were read to the court between the father and son discussing recent thefts in and around the Moreton Hall estate. 

In several messages, Edward King told his dad what he would do to any thieves if he caught them. 

On May 16, 2021, David King put a Whatsapp message into a community group alerting people that someone had tried the handle of his other son's car, the court heard. 

Two days after that incident, Edward King ordered a sword from the internet, Mr Paxton said. 

The father and son, both of Radnor Close, Bury St Edmunds, have denied murdering Mr Charles and an alternative charge of manslaughter.

The trial, which is expected to last three to four weeks, continues.