'Help me': Witness in murder trial describes hearing cry for aid

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 resident of a housing estate in Bury St Edmunds where a father and son allegedly carried out a “vigilante” killing of a thief has described hearing a cry for help.

The witness said she heard someone saying “Help me” at around 4am but hadn’t been concerned enough to check where it was coming from, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

The witness said that earlier the same night she was in bed when she heard the sound of men shouting.

She got up and saw two men trying to break into a neighbour’s van on the Moreton Hall estate with what appeared to be a crowbar with a hook on the end.

She said the men were arguing and one was telling the other to “pull it harder” as they tried to force open a sliding door on the van.

One of her neighbours had then come out of his house and the men had run off.

The witness had gone back to bed and had then heard someone  saying: “Help me.”

Most Read

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 Neil Charles and an alternative charge of manslaughter in June last year.

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.

Christopher Paxton QC, prosecuting, 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 had licences 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 onto a knife he was holding after hitting him with his bike.

Giving evidence on Tuesday a neighbour of the defendants said he’d known David King for six years and described him as an “upstanding citizen.”