“WHY did you have to kill him?”
They are the words that Mark Denton’s traumatised mother she would like to ask his killers who are today starting jail sentences totalling 50 years.
Distraught Anne Denton also said she would willingly swap places with her beloved son.
More than six months after much-loved Mark was cruelly taken away from his family, mum Ann, married to Brian, says their devastation is still just as strong.
Until the trial she had shielded herself from hearing about the shocking levels of injuries inflicted on her son.
In a statement by Ann read out in court she said: “It has been extremely distressing and upsetting to listen to.
“Hearing how our son literally had to fight for his life before succumbing to his injuries was difficult, but we feel as if we had to know for Mark’s sake.”
She questioned why Middleton and Sowerby felt they needed to use such violence towards her son who she said was much-loved by many people.
Ann added: “On that night they didn’t only kill my son they killed a piece of my whole family. There is such a vacuum and empty space in our lives that we can never start to fill it.”
Ann has faced the devastation of losing children in the past.
In 1977, the couple’s twins Victoria and Maxine were born premature and tragically passed away.
The year later loving Ann faced heartbreak again when she miscarried, again carrying twins. Speaking outside of court Ann told how she would have sacrificed her own life if she could swap places with Mark.
Holding back tears she said: “I’m glad they’ve got what they got but I don’t feel any better.
“I just want my son back and wish he was still here.
“His brother and dad are crying all the time, we’re all so miserable without him.
“He was the life and soul of our house. It’s just like a morgue now. I still wait for him to come in through the door. I can’t believe he’s not going to come home any more.
“I just wish they had killed me instead of him. I would have given anything to swap places with him when he was in his coffin. I just want to ask them why did they have to kill him?”
Ann also thinks it should be harder for people to buy axes like the kind used to murder Mark.
She said: “I don’t think they should be able to buy these things that easy.”
They can get them so easy off places like eBay.”