Stevenage man goes on trial for murder

PUBLISHED: 15:17 17 January 2011 | UPDATED: 18:18 19 January 2011

Police attending the scene in July 2010

Police attending the scene in July 2010

Daniel Wilson

NEIGHBOURS heard shouting coming from a house shortly before Stevenage man Mark Butler was stabbed to death there, a murder trial jury heard today (Monday).

Flowers left at the scene in July

The prosecution at Luton Crown Court allege that 32-year-old Mr Butler was murdered by his friend and drinking companion Dwayne Parchment, but there were no other witnesses to the killing.

Parchment, 29 of Bowcock Walk, Stevenage has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Butler on July 13 last year.

Prosecutor Isabel Delamere told the jury: “Mr Butler was killed at Mr Parchment’s address by a single stab wound that penetrated his heart. There were no witnesses.

“The defendant may say he was acting in self defence but the prosecution say whatever threat he may have felt at some point, it had passed by the time he took hold of the knife and thrust it into the other man’s side causing the fatal wound.”

Miss Delamere said that there had been no sign of a struggle, and the victim did not have any defensive wounds on his hands or arms.

But he did have scratches on his face which could have been inflicted with a bladed weapon prior to him being stabbed, the court was told.

Jurors were also told that the fatal wound had fractured a rib and punctured both lungs before penetrating the heart.

A pathologist said a ‘severe degree of force’ would have been required to inflict that injury.

Parchment’s girlfriend, Zoe McGonnell came home to find Mr Butler dying, and called an ambulance.

A neighbour who had been gardening heard her scream in horror shortly before the ambulance arrived. Other neighbours had also heard loud music, shouting and doors slamming inside the property.

“One neighbour heard Parchment say something about ‘don’t tell me what to do in my own house’,” said Miss Delamere.

She said Parchment left the scene, having changed his clothes and allegedly taking the knife with him. He went to his grandmother’s house in London and was arrested on July 15.

“To every question police asked him he answered ‘I did not murder Mark Butler’, but he gave them a prepared statement in which he said they had been drinking and smoking cocaine when Mr. Butler became aggressive and intimidating,” said Miss Delamere.

“It said, ‘He switched on me. There was a knife on the table that we had been using to cut the drugs. I was scared he would grab the knife, so I grabbed it before he did to scare him. I acted in self defence.’

“But the Crown say it was a deliberate attack with the intention to cause really serious harm,” added Miss Delamere.

Mr Butler’s mother Sandra told the jury that her son had the care of his young daughter, who lived with her.

She said that Mr Butler had a drug problem before she was born, but then he moved away and sorted himself out. She said he had also voluntarily sought help for anger management, but had been depressed from time to time.

She also said that he was depressed before he died because his grandfather to whom he was very close had died in April.

Mrs Butler said the two men had been friends for about three years and Parchment called her ‘mum’ like most of Mark’s friends.

About twelve hours before he died, Mark had borrowed his mother’s bank card to get some money. He admitted to her afterwards that he had withdrawn all her money and she was angry.

“But I saw him again at lunchtime and he was high spirited and happy,” said Mrs Butler.

“He did say ‘you never know I might end up dead’ but he quite often said that and also that he would never make old bones, but he laughed it off.”

She said she tried to ring him later but the calls went unanswered and she started to get worried.

The case continues.


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