Mark Denton murder trial: Hartlepool revellers tell court of party horror

Police at the house in Hutton Avenue where Mark Denton suffered fatal injuries
Police at the house in Hutton Avenue where Mark Denton suffered fatal injuries

MORE revellers told a court how a New Year’s Eve party turned to horror when a guest was attacked with an axe.

Two more partygoers who attended the house in Hutton Avenue, Hartlepool, where popular town man Mark Denton suffered fatal injuries, gave evidence during his murder trial at Teesside Crown Court yesterday.

Mark Denton

Mark Denton

Guest Cathy Nicholson told the jury how she returned from the toilet to find violence had broken out.

Ms Nicholson, 23, said: “It seemed like there was two people fighting. There were people everywhere screaming and running about.”

She said she recognised Mark, who she did not know at the time, by his white shirt he had been wearing but said it had turned red with blood.

Ms Nicholson told how she ran into the room to retrieve her bag but the violence had moved in front of her when she turned around.



She said she saw, Anthony Middleton, 21, who she knew, standing over Mark with an axe in his raised right hand.

Ms Nicholson said her boyfriend Jamie Gascoigne was yelling: “Get off him.”

She phoned the police and for an ambulance and went to the front of the house to wait for them to arrive.

After identifying Middleton later to police she said: “I seen him with the axe in his hand. He had blood on his face. He was like standing over Mark Denton.”

Mark Denton

Mark Denton

The trial also heard from partygoer Nathan Connolly, 18, who said he witnessed parts, but not all, of the violence.

He said he saw a confrontation between David Sowerby, known as ‘Dayday’ and Mark.

Mr Connolly said: “The first thing I saw when I turned around was Dayday hit him with the axe.”

He said he saw further blows being delivered by the weapon and Mark on his knees in front of a couch.

John Elvidge QC, defending Sowerby, suggested to Mr Connolly that his client went to the ground before any axe was produced.

Mr Connolly said he did not see that.

Mr Elvidge asked whether Mark had grappled with Sowerby.

Mr Connolly said: “He didn’t get chance to grab hold of him.”

He added he saw Middleton punching Mark in the body and that Sowerby passed him the axe but did not see Middleton use it.

Mr Connolly denied the suggestion from Middleton’s barrister Tim Roberts QC he was mistaken about seeing Middleton holding the axe.

But the witness said: “No I saw him with it.”

Prosecutor Jamie Hill QC asked Mr Connolly: “Are you able to say one way or the other whether Anthony Middleton actually used the axe?”

Mr Connolly said: “No.”

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Previous reports from the murder trial:

Driver says defendant bragged I’ll do 10 years for him

Girlfriend’s tears as she says former boxer was ‘full of cuddles’

DJ says he watched Mark ‘fight for his life’

Accused walked “calmly” away “covered in blood”

Dead man’s brother gives evidence

”Shocking and brutal” attack after row over woman

Brave mum’s tears as she hears of horrific injuries

Murder trial begins