Text messages between father and son accused of murder 'reveal mindset'

Police at the the scene of a stabbing at Winsford Road in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Police in Winsford Road on June 20, 2021 - Credit: Denise Bradley

A father and son accused of murdering a thief who tried car door handles outside their home "saw themselves as a vigilante team", a jury heard. 

David King, 55, and Edward King, 19, allegedly hunted down Neil Charles and stabbed him in the chest around 70 meters from their Bury St Edmunds home on June 20, 2021.  

Mr Charles, described by the prosecution as having "a long career" as a thief and burglar, suffered a single stab wound to the chest in Winsford Road, on the town's Moreton Hall estate, and died from his injuries two days later.

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

Neil Charles died in June 2021 - Credit: Suffolk police/Supplied by the family

During his closing speech, prosecutor Christopher Paxton QC said text messages between the father and son in the two years leading up to the alleged murder of Mr Charles, 47, "revealed their mindset". 

In June 2019, four wheels were stolen from the family's BMW M3, and that incident led to Edward King sending a message to his father saying: "I'm going to stab them." 

A forensics officer takes photographs of a bike that the police had covered up at the the scene of a

Forensic teams work at the scene in Winsford Road - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY

In a further exchange, David King, who was a registered firearms holder, told his son: “Fire a warning shot in the air first and if they come at you, shoot them,” to which Edward replied he would aim at the knees.

Mr Paxton said: "This isn't a joke. This is in the context of his son going out with a real firearm. This wasn't a computer game, this was real life.

"It is not, we suggest, an idle threat. It reveals the mindset of what they are prepared to do." 

In other references to thieves, David King said: “I want to kill them" and “scum needs to die", the court heard. 

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Mr Paxton told the jury: "We ask you to look at these messages and consider them with the events that took place later. 

"It shows the naked hostility to the likes of Neil Charles. They saw themselves as a vigilante team in this fantasy world."

Police at the scene in Winsford Road in Bury St Edmunds

David and Edward King have denied murder - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY

David and Edward King, both of Radnor Close, Bury St Edmunds, have denied murdering Mr Charles and an alternative charge of manslaughter.

Defence closing speeches are expected to begin on Thursday.