Dad and son guilty of vigilante murder of thief in Bury St Edmunds

David and Edward King, the father and son found guilty of murdering Neil Charles in Bury St Edmunds

David and Edward King, the father and son found guilty of murdering Neil Charles in Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Suffolk Police

A father and son accused of murdering a thief in a vigilante killing in Bury St Edmunds have been found guilty by a jury.

David King, 55, and Edward King, 19, hunted down 45-year-old Neil Charles and stabbed him in the chest around 70 metres from their home after he tried the door handles of cars parked on their driveway.

The father and son, of Radnor Close, Bury St Edmunds, showed no emotion as the jury at Ipswich Crown Court unanimously found them guilty of murder after nearly 14 hours of deliberations  They had both denied the charge.

Judge Martyn Levett adjourned the case until Tuesday, May 31, to discuss dates for a sentencing hearing.

During the trial, which started in March, Christopher Paxton QC, prosecuting, claimed that the father and son delivered their "own form of justice" on Mr Charles in the early hours of the morning of June 20 last year, 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.

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

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. 

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He 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 in Winsford Road on the town’s Moreton Hall estate.

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.