Rainham murder: Thug who viciously beat man to death handed life sentence

Mark Croxson has been convicted for the murder of Rodney Parlour. Picture: Met Police

Mark Croxson has been convicted for the murder of Rodney Parlour. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Archant

A criminal with 69 previous convictions was sentenced today to 24 years in prison for murdering an alcoholic in a cruel, prolonged and “extremely violent” attack in the victim’s own home.

Mark Croxson, 48, of no fixed abode, was handed a life sentence with no opportunity of early release for beating 51-year-old Rodney Parlour to death on or around October 1 last year at the latter’s flat in Hood Road, Rainham.

Mr Parlour’s body, which had suffered 67 different injuries to “every part of his body” was discovered on Monday, October 2, when a next-door neighbour looked through his front door’s letterbox and 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.

A jury took just three house to reach a unanimous guilty verdict during the trial in March.

Addressing Snaresbrook Crown Court on April 20, Judge Martyn Zeidman QC said he acknowledged that Croxson intended to cause serious harm and pain rather than to actually kill the victim, but this mitigating factor would could not balance the “ferocity of the sustained attack and pain you must have engendered”.

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“I accept that Rodney was drunk and he squared up to you,” he said.

“You hit him in the face and he fell back to the ground.

“If you had stopped there he would be alive today and you would not face these charges.

“But as your sister explained blood was splattering all over the place and he was groaning and not fully conscious,

“You vigorously stamped on his head and chest with everything you had.

“You picked up am empty Vodka bottle and you smashed it over his head until it broke and as your sister said you were ‘still hyped up like a boxer before a fight’.”

Croxson’s previous 69 conviction and 156 offences date back to the 90s and include robbery, battery, attempted sexual assault, racially aggravated crimes and assaulting a police officer.

Judge Zeidman sentenced Croxson to life imprisonment with a minimum of 24 years, minus the 195 days he had served on remand,

He told the defendant that he did a “terrible thing” and said the attack was carried out with ferocity and lasted many minutes and maybe even hours which must have felt like torture to the victim.

“There is nothing that comes off, you serve every bit of those 24 years, literally every day of it,” he said.

“You have the time to reflect on the horror you have done.”

He also paid tribute to the victim’s family who are serving a “life sentence of grieving”.

The victim’s daughter, Courtney Walton, said she feels such a sense of loss knowing that her dad is not here.

“Dad was such a gentle soul and I am so upset at the way in which his life was taken,” she said,

“Knowing the pain and suffering he must have felt as he died, the thought of this is something which I cannot forget - I still find myself crying when I think of this.

“Dad’s death was so brutal, so awful, seeing photos from his flat during the trial has been really distressing to us all.”

Courtney said that in the weeks before he was murdered, the family has really come together to try and help Rodney beat his addiction.

He had gone to a doctor’s appointment and was told he had signs of cirrhosis of the liver.

He signed up to Alcoholics Anonymous and said he wanted to turn his life around, but he never got the chance to make a change.

“He always said that he wanted to be around to be a granddad when I have children and he wanted to get better for this,” said Courtney.

“This is something which has been taken from us both - his future.

“It has been devastating - the way he died cannot be understood and it has caused so much anger and pain. It was so unnecessary.

“There is no moving on from this, only learning how to live without him in my life, in all out lives.”

Police officers also expressed their satisfaction at the lengthy sentence.

Det Ch Insp Gary Holmes, of Homicide and Major Crime Command, who led the investigation, said: “Life in prison is exactly what Croxson deserves for murdering Rodney Parlour who was a frail and vulnerable individual; and London is a safer place with him locked up behind bars.

“He is an extremely violent individual who has years of violent offending history. He showed no mercy to his poor victim, who suffered horrific injuries at his hands; he took away a loved family member and friend to many.”