Mark Denton murder: Pair get life sentences for axe attack

Anthony Middleton and David Sowerby Anthony Middleton, left, and David Sowerby were both given life sentences

Two half-brothers have been jailed for life for murdering an amateur boxer with an axe at a New Year's Eve party.

Mark Denton, a promising middleweight when he was younger, was attacked with an axe in front of onlookers at a house in Hutton Avenue, Hartlepool.

The 31-year-old suffered 55 separate injuries as the pair took it in turns to hack at him, and died in hospital.

David Sowerby, 24, and Anthony Middleton, 21, denied murder but were found guilty at Teesside Crown Court.

Both received a life sentence, with Sowerby to serve a minimum of 27 years in prison and Middleton to serve at least 23.

The trial heard that Sowerby, of Allerton Close, Hartlepool, had a grievance against Mr Denton following an argument a few months' earlier.

'No remorse'

Along with Middleton, of Bruntoft Avenue, he set upon Mr Denton, who at one point was left with an axe embedded in his skull.

Afterwards, the pair washed and burnt their clothes and disposed of the axe on wasteland, before handing themselves in to the police the next day.

The court was told that a number of those who were at the party and witnessed the murder had to receive counselling.

Mark Denton Mark Denton suffered 55 injuries

Mr Denton's parents, Ann and Brian Denton, said the outcome of the trial would not bring their son back, but did provide "some justice" for him.

They said in a statement: "We wake up on a morning thinking we have had the worst nightmare possible, until we realise that it's actually real and Mark is gone.

"They have not only killed Mark, but killed us both inside"

They described Mr Denton as a "big softy" and a "good lad at heart".

Det Ch Insp Anne-Marie Salwey from Cleveland Police said: "In my career as a detective I have never known such a brutal and horrific murder, and one that was played out in front of so many innocent witnesses."

She described the murder as "cold-blooded" and said Sowerby and Middleton had shown no remorse for their crime.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Tees

Weather

Middlesbrough

21 °C 15 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    Durham v Warwickshire 12:36: Martin Emmerson BBC Newcastle

    Durham host Warwickshire in the one day cup in Gosforth today to mark South Northumberland Cricket Club's 150th anniversary.

    You can listen to full match commentary or keep up with the latest using the live scorecard.

     
  2.  
    Delays on Metro 12:21:

    Tyne and Wear Metro tweets: Major delays to trains from Chichester - St James due to an ambulance attending.

     
  3.  
    Domestic abuse service to close 12:08:

    A domestic violence support service in Northumberland will close next month after running out of council funding.

    Cease 24 had been part-funded by Northumberland County Council. Local charities and an MP have warned that survivors of domestic abuse could be at risk as a result.

    It is run by the charity Victim Support with a mixture of public donations and council funding.

     
  4.  
    News on the hour 11:54:

    The top local headlines at 12:00 include:

     
  5.  
    Wall trust to close 11:39: Cara Thorpe BBC Newcastle

    Responsibility for marketing, managing and maintaining Hadrian's Wall will change hands from tonight.

    That's because the Hadrian's Wall Trust is closing due to an "unsustainable" funding shortage. Seven staff will lose their jobs.

    Hadrian's Wall

    A partnership including eight local councils, Natural England, English Heritage and the Northumberland National Park Authority will take over.

     
  6.  
    Treasure put on show 11:25: Newcastle Chronicle

    A soldier's legacy goes on show at South Shields as part of The Glory of Rome: Arbeia's Greatest Treasures exhibition.

     
  7.  
    Technical fault on Metro 11:12:

    Tyne and Wear Metro tweets: No trains Airport - Kingston Park due to a technical fault. More info to follow. Noda Taxis are running a shuttle service between stations

     
  8.  
    News on the hour 10:58:

    The top local headlines at 11:00 include:

     
  9.  
    Gannet spotted on Farne Islands 10:41:

    Head ranger for the Farne Islands, David Steel, tweets: Not every day we get adult Gannets resting on the Farnes #impressive #NTNature

    Gannet

    He says Gannets only visit the Farnes about once a year.

     
  10.  
    Charity calls for living wage 10:26: The Journal Newspaper

    A children's charity has called for government bodies to implement a living wage to help lift North East families out of poverty.

     
  11.  
    Sir Bobby's legacy 10:14: Jonathan Miles BBC Newcastle

    Today marks the anniversary of the death of local legend Sir Bobby Robson. Can you believe it's been five years?

    After 11:00 on BBC Newcastle, we'll hear more about his legacy - the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, which has now raised more than £7m for cancer treatment and research, and hear my chat with his wife Lady Robson.

     
  12.  
    News on the hour 09:59:

    The top local headlines at 10:00 include:

     
  13.  
    Mum slams killer's sentence 09:41: The Gazette Newspaper

    Clare Conroy has slammed the 18-month sentence given to Ashley Lindo after a high-speed chase, and warned that he could do it again.

     
  14.  
    Pub bought by charity 09:27: Cara Thorpe BBC Newcastle

    A historic pub has been bought by a charity as the starting point for a £10m cultural quarter in Sunderland.

    The Edwardian Dun Cow pub, which is next door to the Sunderland Empire theatre, has been snapped up by the Mac Trust.

    Dun Cow pub

    The trust is also submitting a Heritage Lottery bid to turn the neighbouring derelict fire station into dance and theatre studios with a restaurant.

     
  15.  
    Give us your feedback 09:14:

    What do you think of BBC Local Live? We'd like your feedback about this service.

     
  16.  
    News on the hour 08:59:

    The top local headlines at 09:00 include:

     
  17.  
    Top headlines
     
  18.  
    Overturned vehicle on A66 08:51:

    One lane is closed and there's queueing traffic on the A66 eastbound in Sadberge between the Stockton Road junction and the Darlington Road junction because of an overturned vehicle. There's congestion to Great Burdon Roundabout. More on BBC Travel News for Teesside and Tyne and Wear.

     
  19.  
    Attempted armed robbery 08:43:

    An man armed with a handgun demanded cash from a shop in Elswick Road, Washington, police have said.

    The man entered Cash in a Flash, with another man at about 14:35 yesterday before they were disturbed by a second member of staff. They left empty-handed.

    One man wore a green hooded top, dark tracksuit bottoms, white trainers and white gloves. He had a scarf covering his face. The other man wore a dark coloured hooded top and a mask. Police are appealing for witnesses.

     
  20.  
    Sir Bobby would be 'astonished' 08:30:

    Five years on from the death of Sir Bobby Robson, his widow Lady Elsie Robson says he would be "astonished" at the legacy he has left.

    Sir Bobby Robson

    The former England, Ipswich and Newcastle United manager died on 31 July 2009, aged 76, after his fifth battle against cancer.

    Sir Bobby won the FA Cup with Ipswich in 1978, followed by the Uefa Cup in 1981. He took England to a World Cup semi-final in 1990, which is still the country's best finish since 1966.

     
  21.  
    Feeling pleasantly warm 08:21: Keeley Donovan BBC Look North Weather Presenter

    Some good spells of sunshine and feeling pleasantly warm in light winds but also some cloudy periods with a chance of heavy showers, these perhaps thundery.

    Weather Forecast

    Maximum temperature: 21C (70F). Check the forecast near you.

     
  22.  
    Busy but moving in Sunderland 08:11:

    The A183 The Broadway in Sunderland is busy but moving in both directions at the Holborn Road junction. More on BBC Travel News for Teesside and Tyne and Wear.

     
  23.  
    Good morning 08:00: Lloyd Watson BBC News

    Welcome to BBC Local Live. I'll be bringing you news, sport, weather and travel updates from across the North East, as well as reflecting on the life of Sir Bobby Robson, who died five years ago today.

    If you'd like us to feature your comments, pictures or memories of the former Newcastle and England boss, send them to us by email, tweet us @BBCNewsNE or join our Facebook page.

     

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.