Bury murder accused denies intent to injure but accepts holding knife

Winsford Road in Bury St Edmunds where Neil Charles was fatally wounded

David King has taken the stand in the murder trial of Neil Charles (pictured). - Credit: Archant/Supplied

A 55-year-old Bury St Edmunds man accused of being involved in the alleged "vigilante" killing of a thief after he tried the door handles of cars parked outside his home has admitted holding the knife that caused the victim’s fatal wound. 

David King also admitted exchanging violent texts with his son prior to the killing saying what they might do if burglars or thieves came to their home.

King told Ipswich Crown Court he had felt  “violated” after  wheels on his wife’s car were stolen in 2019 and he had been venting his frustration in the texts which talked about “the scum must die” and “cutting them open and pulling their intestines out".

He described the texts as “childish” and added: “It was venting to make myself feel better. I’m embarrassed to read it now.”

He said he had no intention of carrying out any of the threats in the texts which were made while he was living 60 miles away had in Chelmsford during a temporary split with his wife.

Earlier today, during his first day in the witness box, King denied deliberately causing the injury which resulted in 47-year-old Neil Charles’s death.

Asked by his barrister Jason Bartfeld QC if he had intended to injure anyone when he left his house on the night in question, he replied: “No. No I didn’t.”

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Asked: “Do you accept you were the one holding the knife when he (Mr Charles) was injured?” He said: “Yes I do.”

Asked by Mr Bartfeld: “Did you deliberately cause that injury?” he replied: “No I didn’t.”

Asked about his regrets about what happened on June 20 last year he said: “The most obvious one is that someone lost their life.”

He said he also regretted the effect the events of that night had had on his wife Heather and sons Edward, 19, and Henry, 21.

He said he had no previous convictions and had been remanded in custody since October last year which he said had been “tough.”

He said that after leaving school he trained as an electrician and had been an electrical installations lecturer at a local college before returning to the electrical industry as a contracts manager and a company director.

King of Radnor Close, Bury St Edmunds has denied murdering Mr Charles on June 20 last year and an alternative charge of manslaughter.

Also before the court is his son Edward King, of Radnor Close, Bury St Edmunds, who has denied the same two charges.

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

Christopher Paxton QC, prosecuting, has claimed they delivered their "own form of justice" on Mr Charles in the early hours of 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 - of which David King had licences for as a registered firearms holder. 

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.