Mark Denton murder trial: Jury to consider verdict next week

Mark Denton
Mark Denton

LAWYERS in the trial of two men accused of murdering a former amateur boxer in an axe attack have made their final cases to the jury.

Anthony Middleton, 21, and his half-brother David Sowerby, 24, are accused of murdering Mark Denton in front of horrified partygoers on New Year’s Eve.

Mark Denton

Mark Denton

Barristers in the case made their final speeches on Friday and the jury will begin considering their verdict next week. The judge is expected to sum the case up on Monday.

Prosecutor Jamie Hill QC told the jury they do not have to say who delivered the fatal blow to convict both Middleton and Sowerby of murder.

Mr Hill said the evidence of witnesses at the party in Hutton Avenue, Hartlepool, showed Sowerby started the vicious attack with the axe and Middleton wielded the weapon in the second part of the attack.

“You can be sure that they are in it together,” he said.

Mr Hill added: “We suggest the inescapable truth of this case is that a group of young people who have given evidence to you saw enough of what was going on for you to be sure that this was a joint attack, an unlawful attack in which they intended to do really serious harm.

“Ladies and gentlemen, that is murder.”

Mr Hill said Middleton, who denies attacking Mark with the axe, has given three different accounts of his involvement and the jury could “easily and safely reject it”.

He added Sowerby, who claims he was acting in self defence and was too drunk to want to kill Mark, was “clutching at whichever straw blows his way.”

But Tim Roberts QC, defending Middleton, told the jury his client did not strike the fatal blow to Mark’s arm which caused massive blood loss.

Mr Roberts said: “This was not a planned execution or medieval ambush as the prosecution have labelled it.”

Mr Roberts added that Middleton was in a different part of the room to where blood from Mark’s fatal wound was found.

In his closing remarks, John Elvidge QC, defending Sowerby, said the theory Sowerby wanted revenge after a previous run-in with Mark Denton “bears no sensible scrutiny.”

Middleton, of Bruntoft Avenue, and Sowerby, of Allerton Close, both Hartlepool, deny murder.