THE heartbroken mum of murder victim Mark Denton has relived the horror of how her son was killed – and says she will never come to terms with his death.
Brave Ann Denton spoke exclusively to the Mail just days after seeing twisted David Sowerby and Anthony Middleton caged for life after slaying Mark with an axe at a New Year’s Eve house party.
Ann visits her beloved son’s grave each day, and revealed she seeks comfort by sitting in Mark’s room and talking to him as a way of coping with her grief.
Speaking from the family home in Granville Avenue, Ann said: “I was in my late 30s when I had Mark.
“It took us 10 years to have him. But it only took them five minutes to slaughter him.”
Ann, 70, fought back tears as she recalled getting a phone call from her other son Craig to tell her Mark had been attacked and the moment doctors told her there was nothing that could be done to save him.
On the fateful night of the murder, Mark and his girlfriend Sarah Kinnie had been planning to go to a concert in Middlesbrough to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
And as he left the house, Mark told his mum that this was to be his last ‘big’ night out as he planned to take up bodybuilding in the new year.
Ann said: “I remember New Year’s Eve so well.
“I’d dropped Mark off at the barbers on the morning, and he was full of life when he came home.
“He was happy as Larry, and when him and Sarah came downstairs after getting ready to go out I said they both looked lovely.
“He had his Vivienne Westwood shirt on, and he joked to me ‘I always look lovely don’t I mam?’.
“As they left the door, I just said have a good night – and be careful.
“About an hour later he texted me. I still have the text on my phone. He just said that he loved me and his dad, and said thanks for everything.”
Ann and her husband Brian had planned a quiet night to see in the New Year, but she says her “mother’s instinct” kicked in when she heard several sirens as the night wore on.
“I just had that feeling, it was a horrible feeling,” said Ann.
“Then Craig rang and said Mark had been attacked. He was in a right state, he said Mark had been stabbed.
“It’s all a blur after that, but someone else rang and said it was Hutton Avenue so Brian raced round there in the car.
“The ambulance was leaving the street at that time with Mark in it.
“Someone else rang to say they were taking him to North Tees, then another call came to say it was James Cook in Middlesbrough.
“There was me, Brian, Craig and his wife Donna in the car and we went straight through there.
“At that stage I still didn’t know how serious it was. I never thought he would die. Surely it wasn’t that bad what they had done to him?
“But then I saw Sarah, she was absolutely covered in blood. All you could see was the whites of her eyes.
“We were put into a room, and the doctor and nurse came in and said there was nothing they could do to bring him back.”
Reeling with shock, Ann asked if she could see her son but was told because of the severity of his injuries that wasn’t possible.
She added: “We had to wait until they tidied him up and they told us to go home. I think it was the next day, New Year’s Day night, when we saw him.
“We weren’t allowed to touch him, we had to stand behind the glass because of all the forensics.
“Eventually we were allowed to go in with him. There were lots of people there, family and his friends.
“Brian and I went in, and I remember looking at him lying there and thinking ‘this can’t be true’. It wasn’t real.
“That can’t be my baby lying there.
“Then individually his friends went in.
“I remember seeing them coming out, one by one, walking down the corridor and out of the door.
“It’s awful to see grown men cry.”
In the days that followed, Ann bravely visited the house in Hutton Avenue where the horror unfolded and took comfort from the floral tributes, boxing memorabilia and touching messages that were left by Mark’s pals.
“I didn’t know he was so popular,” she added.
“I brought some of the flowers home and pressed them, and someone printed off a load of messages that had been put on Facebook.
“I don’t use the internet so I hadn’t seen them. It’s still too upsetting to look through them all, but I will one day. I’ve kept them all.”