Mark Denton murder: ‘witnesses threatened by killers’ uncle’

Mark Denton

Mark Denton

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THE uncle of two men found guilty of the murder of town boxer Mark Denton has gone on trial accused of striking fear into two women linked to the brutal axe attack.

Harry Brogden, 40, turned up at both the women’s houses and threatened to “punch the head in” of one of their boyfriends and repeatedly stared into the window of the others home.

Mark Denton

Mark Denton

Murder witness Kathy Nicholson, who gave evidence at the trial, told the court how she felt shocked and scared at what happened when Brogden allegedly approached her.

While another who cannot be named told how after Brogden’s alleged visit: “I didn’t feel safe in my own house.”

The alleged intimidation happened in the weeks following Mark’s brutal murder at a house party in Hutton Avenue, Hartlepool, on New Year’s Eve.

At the time, Brogden’s two nephews, David Sowerby and Anthony Middleton, were holed up in jail awaiting trial for the murder of 31-year-old Mark.

They were found guilty and jailed for life after a three-week trial ended last month.

Prosecuting, Martin Towers told the jury how Brogden is accused to two counts of intimidating witnesses assisting police after the brutal killing.

Kathy Nicholson, who gave evidence at the murder trial, returned to court yesterday to say she felt intimidated after Brogden visited her home on January 28.

She told the jury that Brogden asked where her boyfriend Jamie Gascoigne was and when told he was out threatened to “punch his head in”.

Miss Nicholson said: “He seemed pretty angry by the tone of his voice. He was pointing his finger.”

After he started to walk away she claims Brogden turned around and said “and putting statements in, some friends”.

Martin Towers, prosecuting, said: “How did you feel hearing him say that?”

Miss Nicholson replied: “Shocked. I felt scared.” She added: “He was not supposed to mention the murder case. I was shook up by what had happened.”

She said she stayed the night at a friend’s house because she was frightened Brogden might come back.

Martin Scarborough, defending Brogden, suggested there had been a short conversation over a missing logbook for a motorbike that Mr Gascoigne had sold David Sowerby on the day Mark was murdered.

Mr Scarborough also suggested that Brogden did not make the comment about statements.

Miss Nicholson said: “He did say that.”

The court also heard from another woman, who cannot be named, whose husband had given a statement to police about Mark’s murder.

She claims Brogden stared at her three times between January 16 and 28, including once on the day of Mark’s funeral.

She said she was with in the car with her husband on the first occasion and said on the other times Brogden stared at her through her front room window after stopping outside her house on his push bike.

Asked by Mr Towers how it made her feel, she said: “I was just scared. I didn’t feel safe in my own house.”

Mr Towers said: “Why did you think it was happening?”

She said: “Because [my husband] had given a statement. There was no other reason for it to happen.”

When Brodgen was questioned by police about the allegation by Miss Nicholson he said: “I made no threats about statements. I’ve got nothing against them.”

And in relation to the second alleged victim he said she stared at him in her car and he stared back.

He denied looking at her in her home and said it would not have been possible as her front window had blinds.

Brogden, of Howard Street, Hartlepool, denies two counts of intimidation.

The trial continues.

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