Stab attack 'wasn't by me' says accused

A MAN who has denied attempting to murder a mourner at a Suffolk funeral with a meat cleaver has claimed that his son and nephew were involved in the attack.

Jane Hunt

A MAN who has denied attempting to murder a mourner at a Suffolk funeral with a meat cleaver has claimed that two other people were involved in the attack.

Thomas Frankham told a jury at Ipswich Crown Court that although he did not see who hit Michael Willett Junior on the head he had heard the blow and then saw two other people - who have not been charged with any offence - standing close by with weapons in their hands.

“One had a knife and one had a meat cleaver,” said Thomas Frankham.

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He said he had reacted by putting his hands up in the air in a “what have you done?” way and they had run off.

Thomas Frankham, 44, from Cranleigh, and his brothers Robert, 46, from Watford, and Sam, 41, from Scotland have all denied attempting to murder Michael Willett Junior, from Grantham, on June 4 last year.

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It has been alleged that Mr Willett was attacked with a meat cleaver at the funeral of traveller Sophie Penfold in Newmarket by Thomas Frankham and then set upon by four other men, including his brothers Robert and Sam.

Mr Willett Jnr, 38, was left with a 15cm wound to the side of his head and suffered multiple fractures to his skull.

The three brothers and Mr Willett Jnr had all been attending the funeral along with members of the travelling community from across the country and East Anglia.

The court heard there was a history of bad blood between the Willett and Frankham families.

Giving evidence during the fourth week of his trial Thomas Frankham said that he had been at the cemetery in Newmarket when he saw Mr Willett Junior and other members of his family “striding” towards him.

He claimed that Mr Willett Jnr appeared to have been drinking and had pushed him. Thomas Frankham said he had responded by head-butting him and Mr Willett Jnr had gone to the ground.

Thomas Frankham claimed he had then been hit by Michael Willett Senior and Mr Willett Jnr had then been hit on the head.

He said he hadn't seen the blow but had heard it and had then seen the two other people holding weapons.

The trial continues today.

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