Four people, all from Blackpool, have been found guilty following a three week trial at Preston Crown Court of murdering Mark Gibson (pictured below) who was stabbed to death on Carshalton Road on 11th July, 2022. They will be sentenced on Tuesday 28th February.
The four are:
- Stephen Pugh, 49, of Chapel Street
- Sean Neil, 42, of Boothtoyden
- Tina Walton, 43, of Boothtoyden
- Stephanie Steel, 38, Raikes Parade
A fifth defendant, Aaron Chadwick, 33, of Warley Road, was found guilty of manslaughter after the jury concluded he was involved in the attack but did not intend serious harm to Mr Gibson.
The jury heard that emergency services were called to Carshalton Road in the early hours of 11th July. They found Mark Gibson, also known as Mark Lamb, seriously injured on the pavement. During the trial, Pugh, who had always denied killing Mr Gibson, confessed he had stabbed Mr Gibson with a two-pronged knife.
Each defendant claimed they were acting in self-defence after an attack on Tina Walton in which she suffered a head injury. However, the jury accepted the prosecution’s case that said although Mr Gibson may have started the trouble when he knocked on the door of a house in Boothroyden, he did not pose a risk to anyone when he was fatally stabbed. In court it was heard that when the fatal attack began Mr Gibson ‘posed no threat’ to the group – yet they chased him down the street and attacked him with weapons including a knife, a spade and a tyre wrench.
During the trial, footage of a fight on the corner of Boothroyden and Carshalton Road was played to the jury. They were also shown CCTV of a commotion in the front garden of a house on Carshalton Road, during which Mr Gibson was set upon by the mob as he tried to run to safety. Witnesses heard the victim shouting for help as the five defendants ran away laughing and joking. One was heard shouting: ‘fuck him, let him bleed out’, as Mr Gibson lay on the pavement with a deep knife wound to his shoulder.
Home office pathologist, Dr Alison Armour said the wound was so deep it cut through Mr Gibson’s bone and penetrated his chest cavity. This caused an injury so serious Mr Gibson would collapse within a minute of it being inflicted. When police went to the house in Boothroyden, where Pugh, Walton, Neil and Steel returned after the stabbing, they found the knife used in the attack in a washing up bowl.
Mr Gibson was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital but was pronounced dead.
Detective Chief Insp Jane Webb, of Lancashire Police’s Force Major Investigation Team, said: ‘First and foremost my thoughts are with Mark’s family and friends. They have behaved with dignity and respect throughout the court process. I would like to place on record my thanks to the community for the help they have provided us throughout this investigation. Their support has helped the jury reach the considered verdicts they have.’
Following his death, Mark’s daughter set up a crowdfunding appeal to give him the ‘send off he deserves’ She wrote: ‘Hi my name is Charley and I am Marks daughter. On 11/07/2022 my dad was tragically murdered by 5 people in a brutal attack. All 5 people have been charged and remanded in custody for his murder. My dad was a very loved and respected man many hearts have been broken and many lives changed by this absolute tragedy. I am trying to raise funds towards my dad’s funeral and other costs after his tragic sudden passing. I want to give him the best send off he deserves. Any donations are very much appreciated at this very difficult time. Thank you.’ The appeal raised £1,705.