Two Liverpool men will be sentenced today for the murder of Mark Mason in Rhyl.
James Davies from Stoneycroft was convicted by a jury of stabbing the father-of-two to death outside Home Bargains last October. Jake Melia from Aintree pleaded guilty to all charges, including wounding two other men – one of whom has since died.
Anthony Baines from Kensington and Mark Ennis from Walton will also be sentenced for manslaughter. They were acquitted of murder at the end of a five-week trial at Mold Crown Court last month.
On the first day of the sentencing hearing, Mr Mason’s daughter Skye said in a statement that no words would ”truly explain or show how much” it had affected the family or would do for the rest of their lives.
The court heard he had been clean from drugs for fourteen years after battling a heroin addiction but fell back into the habit around two years ago while being treated for illness. He managed to overcome his addiction again, but Miss Mason added the family were ”worried that he would be found dead one day because of drugs but never in a million years did we think he would be murdered”. She had to tell her brother that he was ”killed by nasty men”.
Mr Mason’s mother Rose described him as a ”bright and talented artist” with a ”real gentleness” and a ”uncommon decency”. She said he ”always took responsibility for his own mistakes and kept them away from his family” but they would never know if he really would turn his life around. She added the police investigation and the trial had at least given the family answers.
The prosecution said Davies and Melia had been very angry after an attempted attack on them at the Cob near Marine Lake on the day of the murder. Davies had been a member of the so-called ‘Pensarn Boys’, a drug dealing gang led by Baines, for four days. They were based at a ‘safe house’ on Wellington Road.
The BMW van in which the four men were travelling was repeatedly seen driving around town on the evening of the stabbing. Mr Mason died of catastrophic blood loss from 22 stab wounds – two other men, Sam Ilidge and Justin Trickett, were also wounded. Mr Tricket later died.
Melia’s blood was found on the vehicle – police also discovered burnt clothing and trainers when he was arrested. He initially denied any involvement but later admitted murder and wounding.
His laywer, Rick Pratt QC, said he did not intend to kill and only stabbed Mr Mason once in the leg – he accepted he was facing at least 25 years in prison but asked for the tariff to be cut by 10% because of his early guilty plea.
Melia, whose parents had died when he was a teenager, was described as a ‘model inmate’, who owned up to the crime and did not blame his former life for what happened. He had also written a letter to Mr Mason’s family, expressing his remorse.
Davies’ defence, Patrick Harrington QC, argued that the minimum tariff was ‘colossal’ for a 21 year-old and pleaded for the judge to be slow to add to the sentence. Davies had been expelled from school after his father murdered the mother of his best friend, who he had a relationship with. His stepfather later died and his sister had her leg amputated after becoming the victim of a crime.
Davies’ partner gave birth to their first child on the day before a jury convicted him – after he was found guilty, he insisted it was still ”the best day of my life”. Mr Harrington argued that it would be useful to contemplate he would be serving prison time beyond his 46th birthday.
Ennis, a father-of-three convicted of manslaughter, previously served an eight month jail sentence for unlawful wounding in 2008. Mitigating for him, Nigel Power QC said the murder was a ”knee jerk reaction” and his client was not there as muscle. He argued that while Ennis’ criminal record was drug related, there was a lack of violent offending involved in his past.
The argument for Baines’ mitigation will be made on Thursday, when Mrs Justice Nicola Davies hands down sentences for all four defendants.
Source: Daily Post