Jury shown video of alleged murder victim trying to open car doors

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

Neil Charles - Credit: Suffolk police/Supplied by the family

A thief who was the alleged victim of a “vigilante“ killing by a Suffolk father and son was caught on video footage trying door handles of cars parked outside their home on the night he died, a court has heard.

A jury in the trial of 55-year-old David King and his 19-year-old son Edward King has seen video footage of a man fitting the description of 47-year-old Neil Charles trying the driver’s door of a white BMW parked on their driveway.

The man can also be seen putting his thumb in the air towards a camera before approaching the Kings’ front door in Bury St Edmunds and then walking away at around 3.50am, Ipswich Crown Court heard on Tuesday (March 29).

The same man, who had his face covered and was dressed in black, was caught on video footage three hours earlier the same night appearing to try the door handles of two cars on the Kings’ driveway, the court heard.

Shortly after the man left the Kings’ driveway at around 3.50am, David King could be seen on video footage coming out of his home with his son, who had a long black object in his hand, said Christopher Paxton QC, prosecuting.

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

It has been alleged that they hunted down Mr Charles and stabbed him after he tried the door handles of cars parked outside their home.

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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 accept 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. 

These included knives, knuckledusters, machetes, and shotguns for which David King was a registered firearms holder. 

The court has heard that prior to the alleged killing the defendants exchanged violent texts 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 onto a knife he was holding after hitting him with his bike.

The trial continues.