Mark Denton murder trial – our live coverage

BOXER: Mark Denton
BOXER: Mark Denton

THE trial of two men accused of the murder of Hartlepool man Mark Denton heard the former boxer was slashed 17 times with an axe.

Mark, 31, a popular amateur boxer, died after he was attacked at a house party on New Year’s Eve.

Mark Denton

Mark Denton

Anthony Middleton, 21, and David Sowerby, 23, are charged with murder.

The jury was told by prosecuter Jamie Hill QC that the men ‘took it in turns’ to attack Mark with an axe and both had been drinking and taking drugs.

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

Because of the nature of the trial there was a heavy police presence at Teesside Crown Court.

Those present heard that Sowerby threatened to get a shotgun during an argument with Mark about a woman during a house party in October, last year.

Mr Hill said that from that moment Sowerby “had revenge in mind”.

Sowerby is said to have ordered a camping axe from eBay in early December, then ordered a sabre-cut camping axe three days later.

Mr Hill claims that Mark “wasn’t anticipating any trouble” when he went to the party in Hutton Avenue but there was an “immediate reaction” by the defendants when Mark arrived.

He described the alleged attack as being “as shocking as it was brutal” and said that Sowerby was the first to use the axe.

Middleton is said to have joined in when Mark tried to fight back and both left by a back door.

It was claimed that the pair were “buzzing” after the incident and Sowerby said: “See I told you I would use the axe”, and Middleton said: “I know we done him there”.

Sowerby is also alleged to have said: “We’ll put our clothes in the wash, get a bath, get changed and go down town drinking. We’ll dump the tool.”

The men are said to have “handed themselves in” at Hartlepool Police Station the following day.

Middleton told police Mark attacked Sowerby so he intervened and claimed Mark also tried to stab him. Sowerby is said to have refused to answer questions.

Mr Hill claimed the bloodied clothes were washed and burned at Middleton’s house.

The jury was shown photos of the scene of the alleged attack, Mark’s bloodied shirt and computer-generated images of Mark’s injuries.

The killing of the “popular” boxer caused widespread shock and sorrow in Hartlepool.

Mark, who lived in Granville Avenue, Hartlepool, had sent a text to his parents Ann and Brian to wish them a happy New Year just moments before he died.

The trial has been adjourned to begin again at 10.30am on Thursday.

You can get live updates from the trial via Twitter @HpoolMail

Updates will also appear on our Facebook page.