Rainham murder suspect cleaned DNA traces from flat after brutal attack, 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 newly-released prisoner who beat an alcoholic to death with a vodka bottle spent hours attempting to clear forensic evidence from the scene of the crime, a court heard yesterday (Tuesday, March 13).

Mark Croxson, 48, of no fixed abode, is accused of murdering 51-year-old Rodney Parlour on or around October 1 last year at Mr Parlour’s first floor flat in Hood Road, Rainham.

Snaresbrook Crown Court heard Mr Croxson had recently served a 24-week prison sentence and had come to Rainham to see his sister, Natalie, who was staying at Mr Parlour’s flat after falling out with her boyfriend.

In a police interview on October 2, the day after Mr Parlour’s beaten and bloody body was discovered, Natalie claimed a row began after the pair began swapping stories about their time in Pentonville Prison on the night of September 30.

Mr Croxson claimed Mr Parlour was a notorious sex offender whose reputation was well known among other inmates, but an argument broke out when Mr Parlour, who had in fact been jailed for handling stolen goods and was not a sex offender, disputed this.

Then followed what prosector Simon Denison QC described as “a heavy assault”, as Mr Croxson beat Mr Parlour to the ground before stamping repeatedly on his head and hitting the alcoholic with a vodka bottle multiple times until it broke.

Mr Parlour died at the bottom of his flat’s stairs the next day – bloody hand prints smeared across the walls seemed to suggest he had been attempting to leave the building but had succumbed to one of his 67 injuries.

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Once he had died, Natalie claims Mr Croxson began tidying a number of ash trays with used cigarette butts and a glass he had drunk cider from into an orange recycling bag in an attempt to remove any evidence of himself from the flat.

When Mr Croxson was arrested on October 5, heavy traces of Mr Parlour’s blood were still found on the shoes he was wearing.

Natalie described her brother as a violent man who had served a number of prison sentences since first being jailed at the age of 16.

She told the court: “He’s a very angry person and psychologically I know he’s screwed up – when he was a child he was very disruptive.”

The court also heard how Natalie watched the fight unfold before leaving the flat’s lounge area to go and sleep in Mr Parlour’s bed while he was bleeding on the kitchen floor.

When asked by a police interviewer if she was scared of her brother she replied: “Yeah. Very. I’ve got good reason to be as well.”

Natalie claims she was woken on Sunday morning by Rodney, who was still alive at this point but badly injured, calling her name from the bottom of the blood-stained stairs.

She went to him and described how his injuries had worsened since the last time she had seen him before she had gone into his bedroom.

She told the court: “His face looked like it had been in a fire. It was black from all the bruising and there were patches of blood all over the carpet.”

At this point, Natalie claims Rodney said he did not want an ambulance called, and instead asked for a sleeping bag because he was feeling cold.

Natalie placed the sleeping bag over him, and gave him some orange juice, then went back up to the bedroom to avoid her brother, who she claims was still pacing around the flat “like a boxer”.

According to Natalie’s account, a few hours then passed, with Natalie regularly checking on Rodney’s condition, until eventually she heard her brother say: “Do you know, I think he’s dead,” before cleaning the flat and leaving.

When asked why she never attempted to call the police, Natalie admitted she had not been thinking clearly.

She said: “Mark left and all I could think was ‘there’s a dead body at the bottom of the stairs’, I know it’s stupid of me and I know it was wrong but I just left the flat.”

Mr Croxson denies murder.

The trial continues.