Axe used to murder Mark Denton available to buy in just minutes on internet

ONLINE: Deadly axe easy to buy on the internet
ONLINE: Deadly axe easy to buy on the internet

JUST a day after the grief-stricken mum of Mark Denton called for tougher legislation on buying weapons, the Mail was able to purchase the exact same axe used in the brutal slaying of her son in less than five minutes online.

After seeing her son’s killers caged by a judge at Teesside Crown Court, Ann Denton expressed concerns about how easy it was for the pair to buy the murder weapon from the internet.

MURDERERS: Anthony Middleton (left) and David Sowerby

MURDERERS: Anthony Middleton (left) and David Sowerby

She pleaded for tougher legislations to be brought into force, and the Mail has echoed those calls to the Home Office. Killer 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 Mail carried out a similar purchase of the weapon – a Sabre Cut Axe – and found dozens readily available on a host of internet sites priced at around £40 with the promise of next day delivery.

All that was required to buy one was a valid credit or debit card and a billing address which matched the cardholder’s details.

No security checks were required during the sale and the proof of age requirement was no more than ticking a box.

The whole ordering process took less than five minutes, and showed how easy it was for half-brothers Sowerby, 24, of Allerton Close, Hartlepool, and Middleton, 21, of Bruntoft Avenue, Hartlepool, to place their chilling online order as they planned their attack.

But because the tool used as a weapon isn’t illegal and buyers do not require a licence to make a purchase as they would with a gun, no sale restrictions can be placed on anyone buying one.

Similar tools are also available to buy over the counter in hardware stores, again with no restrictions other than providing proof of age to buy a bladed article

That comes on no consolation to Ann, who sat through three weeks of a harrowing trial hearing how the axe was used in at the savage attack on Mark.

It emerged during the case that the 31-year-old former boxer had sustained more than 50 injuries after being attacked with the axe shortly after he arrived at the party with his girlfriend Sarah Kinnie.

Ann said: “I don’t think they should be able to buy these things that easy.They can get them so easily off places like eBay, we heard during the trial how simple it was.

“Something needs to be done to make it harder to get hold of these weapons.People should have areason for buying them.”

Detective Chief Inspector Anne-Marie Salwey, who led the investigation into Mark’s murder, says officers will always look to prosecute when items are being carried unlawfully.

Det Chf Insp Salwey said: “This case highlights the destructive effect where weapons are used and the police will continue to seek prosecution for anyone found to be carrying weapons unlawfully.”

The Home Office has still to respond about the ease in which the axes can be bought.

Meanwhile the house in Hutton Avenue where the New Year’s Eve horror unfolded while the party took place remains unoccupied after a potential sale fell through when details of what had taken place there were made public.

At the time of the murder, the party hosts had access to to the house following a family bereavement and the property was on the market.

But the address is no longer being advertised as being for sale and the Mail understands the property is in the hands of solicitors.