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Bury St Edmunds 'vigilante' murder defendant speaks of moments leading up to stabbing



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A man charged alongside his son in connection with a fatal stabbing in Bury St Edmunds was quizzed in court today.

David King, a 55-year-old former project manager, stands accused of killing 47-year-old Neil Charles in Winsford Road last June.

The prosecution claims that David and his 19-year-old son, Edward, attacked Mr Charles with a 'military-style' knife and ninja sword, after the alleged victim was sighted attempting to break into the family car.

Neil Charles (right) died after sustaining a fatal wound in Winsford Road last year.
Neil Charles (right) died after sustaining a fatal wound in Winsford Road last year.

Mr Charles, who had a criminal record for various property-related offences, died in hospital two days after sustaining a single stab wound to the chest.

By his own account, David King left his home with a knife in the early hours of June 20, concerned for the wellbeing of his neighbours.

Following a confrontation, he told the jury he produced the blade, which Mr Charles then accidentally ran into.

Although he left the house with his son - who was carrying a ninja sword - David King claims he was alone when the incident took place.

Contrary to David King's evidence, prosecuting barrister Chris Paxton QC said that both Kings participated in the attack, and that they were acting on shared fantasies involving vigilantism and the killing of thieves.

He today detailed the choice of weapons present in the family home, situated a short walk from Winsford Road.

These, the prosecutor argued, did not suggest that the pair had behaved spontaneously.

The prosecutor told David King: "We've got two knives in your room, we've got shotguns in the attic, knives in Edward's room, a machete and ninja sword in the airing cupboard. We've got a knife on the hallway table - is that the King family letter opener?

"You've got weapons throughout the property. There really is a fascination that you and Edward had about weapons."

The defendant sought to refute Mr Paxton's arguments, stating that he only kept a small number of knives as a hobby, and that he disapproved of his son's own collecting.

He maintains that he only went outside on the morning of June 20 to scout out the area, and that he did not expect a confrontation.

David King said of his and his son's intent that morning: "If we can go out, and make sure other people in the area are safe, and that this person has left the estate ... I think that is okay."

Mr Paxton rubbished the accused's suggestion that the decision to go outside with weapons was in any way 'split-second'.

He pointed out that David King had not initially made any mention of his son's role in the events to the police.

The Kings had shared graphic texts in the years leading up to Mr Charles' death, featuring what the prosecution has called violent 'vigilante' fantasies.

Although David King has dismissed these as idle talk, the prosecution argues that they show the pair had a dark side.

Both defendants deny charges of murder and manslaughter.

The trial continues.

For information on how we can report on court proceedings, click here