A LEADING minister has expressed sympathy with the family of Mark Denton over his brutal killing - and says plans are in place to make it harder to buy items which can be used as weapons.
Brothers David Sowerby and Anthony Middleton were jailed for life, serving a minimum of 50 years betwen them after hacking much-loved Mark, 31, to death with a foot-long camping axe they had purchased online just weeks before the New Year’s Eve attack.
The former boxer’s mum Ann called for tougher legislation to be brought into force surrounding buying bladed articles, with a Mail test purchase proving the same axe could be bought online without any security checks in less than five minutes.
Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said: “This was an appalling crime and I am glad that these people have been brought to justice and will be locked away for a very long time.
“Crimes involving knives and blades cause misery for victims and their families. That is why their unlawful possession is already a serious criminal offence and we have created a new offence of aggravated knife possession for those who carry them in public places.
“We are also working closely with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and with Trading Standards to make sure retailers are meeting their responsibilities when it comes to selling knives and other bladed articles.”
The murder trial at Teesside Crown Court heard Sowerby, 24, of Allerton Close, Hartlepool, and Middleton, 21, of Bruntoft Avenue, Hartlepool, bought the axe on the internet as they planned their attack.
Sowerby was sentenced to life in jail, with a minimum of 27 years. Middleton also received a life sentence and will serve a minimum of 23 years.
The jury returned their unanimous verdicts after just an hour of deliberations.