Man unlikely to have 'run on to knife' that killed him, murder trial told

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 thief who was the victim of an alleged “vigilante” killing by a Bury St Edmunds father and son after he tried the door handles of cars outside their home was unlikely to have run on to the knife blade that killed him, a court has heard.

Consultant forensic pathologist Dr Nathaniel Cary told a jury at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday that 47-year-old Neil Charles died from blood loss caused by a 12cm - nearly 5 inches - stab wound to his chest.

He said the knife had passed between two ribs and punctured his left lung causing it to collapse.

He said the cause of death was blood loss caused by the stab wound to the chest and he described the level of force used to inflict the wound as “moderate”. 

Before the court are 55-year-old David King and his 19-year-old son Edward King, both of Radnor Close, Bury St Edmunds. 

They have denied murdering Mr Charles and an alternative charge of manslaughter in June last year.

Asked by prosecution counsel Christopher Paxton QC about David King’s claim to police that Mr Charles had run on to the blade of a knife he was holding, Dr Cary said that in his 30-year experience he hadn’t seen a case where someone had run on to a knife blade.

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“You don’t see people running on to knives - you see offenders thrusting,” said Dr Cary.

He said that in addition to the fatal stab wound Mr Charles had suffered two cuts to his left hand and a 4cm across his left leg above the knee.

He said he couldn’t say in which order the wounds were inflicted.

It has been alleged that the father and son hunted down 47-year-old 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 Sunday, June 20 last year around 70 metres from their family home.

He described what they did as an act of "vigilante violence”.

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 told the jury that Mr Charles had a "long career" as a thief and burglar and was out that night “looking for opportunities to steal".

“The prosecution accepts he was out that night stealing or looking to steal. But we have the police force to be called out and a criminal justice system to process those who are accused of a crime,” he said.

Mr Paxton has alleged the father and son had an "obsession" and "fascination" with weapons and following the death of Mr Charles, numerous items were discovered at their home. 

The court has heard that the defendants exchanged violent texts prior to the killing saying what they might do if anyone came to their home and did what Mr Charles was trying to do.

In a 999 call after the alleged attack, David King claimed Mr Charles had run on to a knife he was holding after hitting him with his bike.

The trial continues.