Sunday 28 May 2017

'Domineering' son murdered his elderly parents before dumping their bodies, court told

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Court artist drawing by Elizabeth Cook of Timothy Crook in the Dock at Bristol Crown court. Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire
TV OUT Court artist drawing by Elizabeth Cook of Timothy Crook in the Dock at Bristol Crown court. Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire
Court artist drawing by Elizabeth Cook of Timothy Crook (centre) in the Dock at Bristol Crown court. Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire
TV OUT Court artist drawing by Elizabeth Cook of Timothy Crook (centre) in the Dock at Bristol Crown court. Elizabeth Cook/PA Wire

Claire Hayhurst

A "domineering" son murdered his elderly parents before dumping their bodies at his property 150 miles away, a jury heard.

Timothy Crook, 51, is accused of killing his father Robert Crook, 83, and mother Elsie Crook, 76, at their home in Thames Avenue, Swindon, Wiltshire, on July 7 2007.

Bristol Crown Court heard the "difficult" relationship between Crook and his parents, who he lived with since losing a civilian job with the Ministry of Defence, was "deteriorating".

He is alleged to have murdered the couple in the bedroom of their home by strangling, kicking, punching and stamping on them as well as hitting them with a weapon, believed to be a hammer. Crook denies the murders.

Crook is then said to have put their bodies in the back of their Nissan Micra before driving them to a property he owned in Foxglove Way in Lincoln, later that evening.

Friends reported the couple missing on July 11 2007 when they failed to attend a dance class at their church and Crook claimed they had driven to Lincoln to sell his home.

Police attended Crook's house in the city and discovered the bodies of Mr and Mrs Crook lying under wheelie bins in the overgrown back garden.

Crook was arrested and denied the murders. He was found to be unfit to stand trial due to mental health problems, which have now improved, the court heard.

Prosecuting, Andrew Langdon QC, told the jury: "Exactly eight years ago, Timothy Crook's elderly parents were killed in a brutal attack.

"They suffered repeated blows to their bodies and heads, some of which were delivered by a weapon, probably a hammer.

"Each of them were also strangled, probably with a belt. They lived with their son, the defendant Timothy Crook, in Swindon.

"Their bodies were dumped in an overgrown back garden at his house in Lincoln. He was arrested within a few days of their deaths."

Mr Langdon said Crook had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and had been under the care of doctors since the murders.

"In more recent times, his condition has improved so that he is now able to comprehend the case against him, instruct his lawyers and so advance his defence in court," Mr Langdon added.

The court heard Crook, who had always been single, moved in with his parents after losing his job as a civilian for the Ministry of Defence in the Lincoln area.

He was sectioned in 2002 and under the supervision of mental health services in Lincolnshire but refused to register with a doctor when he moved to Swindon.

His sister, Janice Lawrence, described how Crook "domineered the home" and banned his parents from having any visitors.

"They told her how domineering he was and how frightened they were of him," Mr Langdon said.

"A week prior to their deaths her parents visited and they told her things had been getting really, really bad.

"Tim said he was going to evict them, he didn't want them there. He would stand over them, dominating them, swearing at them, threatening them."

The couple were last seen alive on the morning on July 7 - believed to be the date of their deaths - reversing their car out of their drive.

Crook is alleged to have attacked them that afternoon before driving their car to his home in Lincoln and unloading the bodies.

The Nissan Micra was dumped a short walk from Newark train station on July 8, where Crook was seen on CCTV catching a train to London.

He caught a train back to Swindon, where it is claimed he attempted to clean up any evidence of the murders and dispose of bloodied items of clothing in bin bags.

Wiltshire Police attended the property at 4pm on July 11, after friends reported the couple missing, and Crook insisted they were in Lincoln.

An officer in Lincolnshire discovered the bodies at 6.20 that evening. The car was discovered later, with blood staining inside the back and on a door handle.

A post-mortem examination found both Mr and Mrs Crook died as a result of strangulation with a belt.

Mrs Crook had 24 fresh injuries from "blows, punches, kicks and stamps" and bruises from an oval-shaped weapon, probably a hammer.

Mr Crook's body had similar bruising but he had not suffered from head injuries as severe as his wife's.

Representing Crook, Mr Nigel Pascoe QC, said: "The case for the defendant is 'I did not kill either of my parents'."

The trial, expected to last for three weeks, continues.

ends

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