Rainham murder suspect beat alcoholic to death with vodka bottle, court hears

Police and forensic officers at the scene of a murder on Hood Road in Rainham

Police and forensic officers at the scene of a murder on Hood Road in Rainham - Credit: Archant

A man beat his sister’s alcoholic friend to death with a vodka bottle after mistaking him for a notorious sex offender, a court heard yesterday (Monday, March 12).

Mark Croxson, 47, of no fixed abode, is standing trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court accused of murdering 51-year-old Rodney Parlour at Mr Parlour’s flat in Hood Road, Rainham, on or around October 1 last year.

It is alleged that on that weekend, Mr Croxson, recently out of prison, went to visit his sister, Natalie, who had been living at Mr Parlour’s flat for three weeks after falling out with her boyfriend.

Natalie claims Mr Parlour and Mr Croxson soon began talking about their own experiences of life inside Pentonville Prison.

It was at this point, the court was told, that Mr Croxson claimed to recognise Rodney’s name and accused him of being a sex offender notorious to prison inmates.

In actual fact, Mr Parlour had served time at Pentonville in 1991 for handling stolen goods, and he became offended at the suggestion he was a sexual predator.

Prosecutor Simon Denison QC told the jury: “Angered by the false accusation, Rodney Parlour stood up, fists clenched, and the two men squared up to each other.

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“It was never a contest – Rodney Parlour was a drunk, Mr Croxson is a violent man.”

Mr Parlour’s body, which had suffered 67 different injuries, was discovered on Monday, October 2, when a next door neighbour went looking for him, and looking through his front door’s letterbox spotted his bloody body.

When police officers broke down the door and entered the flat, they found Mr Parlour’s body at the bottom of the blood-soaked stairs, and further investigation revealed he had been heavily beaten on as many as five separate occasions in the flat’s kitchen, lounge and living room areas.

In some places Mr Parlour had been beaten so savagely that blood had spattered the ceiling, the jury was told.

At a six-hour long post-mortem examination at Queen’s Hospital on October 4, medical specialists determined he had died of blunt force trauma as the result of repeated blows to his chest and head area with a blunt object.

His sister, who was present at the outset of the fight but claims to have moved into the flat’s bedroom because she was “terrified” of her brother, says she saw Mr Croxson repeatedly strike Mr Parlour with a vodka bottle until it broke against his head.

Mr Croxson was arrested at a Rainham restaurant on the evening of October 5, and refused to answer any police questions.

Forensic analysis of the black Reebok trainers he was wearing upon his arrest showed they were stained with Mr Parlour’s blood, particularly the right shoe.

While in prison awaiting trial, Mr Croxson made several phone calls to his parents in which he alludes to the incident.

In a transcript read to the court, Mr Croxson told his mother: “They’re saying the fella I had a fight with was stabbed in the head, but I never. He was just cut.”

Mr Croxson went on to tell his mother that Mr Parlour had continued to threaten him and move towards him that night.

In a second phone call dated before the blood on his trainers was confirmed as Rodney Parlour’s, Mr Croxson appears to tell his father that if no forensic evidence placed him at the scene he would have claimed to have never been there, insisting that his sister was a drunk who never remembered anything.

Mr Denison told the jury: “He was careless. He talked about what he did and told his parents that he got in a fight with Rodney Parlour and killed him.

“He of course claimed it was self-defence, and says Mr Parlour threatened to kill him and Natalie, but the desperate alcoholic Rodney Parlour was no physical match for Mark Croxson.

“This was brutal, horrific murder.”

Mr Croxson denies murder.

The trial continues.