A KILLER acted out a chilling quote from a violent gangster movie when he executed Hartlepool boxer Mark Denton in a brutal axe attack.
Just 24 hours before vengeful David Sowerby carried out the shocking attack in front of horrified party goers, he quoted a line from the 18-rated Martin Scorsese movie Casino to threaten much-loved Mark, 31.
Sowerby and his brother Anthony Middleton, 21, were jailed for a total of 50 years after they were found guilty of taking it in turns to hack Mark to death with the foot-long camping axe that Sowerby had bought with ease off the internet just weeks earlier.
Mark’s anguished mum Ann Denton told how she would swap places with Mark if she could and wanted to ask his killers why they had to take his life.
The trial judge said Mark had been “slaughtered in a ferocious attack” by Sowerby, who he caged for 27 years, and Middleton, who must serve a minimum of 23 years behind bars after joining in.
It was just after 10pm when Mark arrived at the fateful New Year’s Eve party in Hutton Avenue with his girlfriend Sarah Kinnie.
The happy couple had planned to see in 2014 at a glitzy concert in Middlesbrough but decided late on to go to the party.
Sowerby, who threatened to shoot Mark after Mark knocked him out at another house party in October, was lying in wait with Middleton.
Middleton had taken along his Sabre Cut axe, ready to use when Sowerby next bumped into Mark.
On December 30, Sowerby updated his Facebook status with the message: “Al crack your skull open nd guess what by the time I’m coming out of jail hopefully you’ll be coming out ya comer cos I’ll crack your skull open again see that’s the difference between me and you I’m stupid that’s what i do ellish.”
The line is a quote from the film Casino and spoken by Las Vegas psychopath mob boss Nicky Santoro, played by actor Joe Pesci.
The trial judge, Mr Justice Green said: “Just 24 hours later you played out that scene in real life.”
The trial heard that Mark had been in a good mood and was not looking for trouble that night.
But nothing could prepare him for the shocking violence that was launched within moments of him walking through the door.
Witnesses described a scuffle between Mark and Sowerby who then began attacking Mark with his brother’s axe.
Sowerby unleashed blow after blow to Mark’s head, arms, and body. Middleton then got hold of the axe and joined in striking Mark around four times in the back while he was bent over.
Mark fought for his life, but he had suffered more than 50 injuries including 17 cuts from the axe.
He died from massive blood loss after Sowerby severed an artery in Mark’s left arm - probably while he tried to protect himself.
A paramedic said they were the worst injuries he had ever seen 20 years.
As horrified partygoers ran from the house, Sowerby and Middleton calmly walked out the back door and hijacked an innocent party goer to drive them away.
They were so heavily stained in their victim’s blood they left a clear trail.
The frightened getaway driver Callum Vanes told how the killers boasted about what they had done during the journey back to Middleton’s flat in Bruntoft Avenue where they set about burning and washing their clothes.
They even talked about going back out drinking.
Back at Hutton Avenue, traumatised Mark’s traumatised girlfriend cradled him in her arms as she and others tried to stem the blood loss before the emergency services arrived.
Tragically, Mark went into cardiac arrest in the ambulance and was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at hospital.
Sentencing Sowerby, Mr Justice Green said: “Your slaughter of him has deprived his parents, who have endured sitting through this shocking trial, of a son who was loved.”
The judge said Middleton “became sucked into your older brother’s mindlessly stupid desire for revenge”.