Elderly parents hid killer son minutes after he murdered girlfiend's ex in frenzied knife attack
AN ELDERLY couple hid their killer son from police after he stabbed his girlfriend's ex partner to death in a frenzied attack while he was preparing a Sunday roast. Janet (above) and Arthur Parkins drove son Robert Parkins from their home in Eaton Socon, Cambridgeshire, to hide out in a relative's home in north London, after he stabbed Alex Fitzpatrick,15 times outside the home of his girlfriend where he had been peeling potatoes. After the murder at 5.30pm, Parkins, 34, ran straight to his parents' home (seen on CCTV below) round the corner, discarding the knife on the way, and the three were travelling in their car down the A1 within an hour.
The parents left him at an aunt's home and headed straight back to Eaton Socon, but the journey had been picked up on a automatic number plate recognition system and relayed to police investigating the murder, who were waiting for them at the address they had lived at for 33 years. The story of the couple's attempt to hide their son is told in a new 24 Hours in Police Custody episode on Channel 4. The pair initially told police they had a call from Parkins, and knew he was in trouble, but had no idea where he was. They were arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender and while in custody police located Parkins in London and he was also arrested at 3.10am the following morning. Under questioning, his dad (below), who suffers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, was the first to fold, when he admitted to taking him there after Parkins came knocking, saying he attacked someone and had to defend himself.
"He was panicking. I thought someone was coming, there was a backlash, my boy was panicking. I never believed he could be like this," he told police. Parkins was sentenced to life with a minimum of 19 years at the Old Bailey in August 2020 after a jury found him unanimously guilty of the murder. The court heard he stabbed him in the chest, back. front, buttocks, neck, spine, heart and lungs. Mrs Parkin initially said no comment to questions, but once told her sister had confirmed she arrived with Robert (below), she opened up.
She said: "Yes he did get in our vehicle and we took him to my sisters. "That boy is a good boy, a lovely, lovely son, a helpful son. "What has happened, I know it's murder, it's unbelievable, it is not in his character. "It's got to be manslaughter or defence or something he would not go and hurt anyone he looked after me he looks after my sister he looks after dad. He's just great. "Murder sounds terrible." When told aiding Robert flee was a crime, she adds: "I did not realise it was such an offence helping your children when they are injured and upset and are running scared. "I didn't know it was an offence. I would feel that any loving mother would protect her children and try to help her children."
Parkins rowed with Mr Fitzpatrick (above) on the doorstep of his girlfriend's home after the latter returned his 8-year-old son there on October 13 2018.
Just weeks before his death, the victim had taken news of Parkins moving in with his ex his son “badly” and had “made clear.” A fight broke out and Parkins stabbed him multiple times. At trial, Parkins claimed self defence, but the prosecution argued the fact he was away from the front door and the amount and extent of injuries and extra cuts to his motorbike clothing (below) showed he was the aggressor.
Mr and Mrs Parkins were due to stand trial for assisting an offender, but the prosecution was dropped after repeated delays during the coronavirus lockdowns and the couple each accepted police cautions.
Alex's mum Mary Reading said: "I can't get over that he's not here anymore. Stabbing someone once would be hard enough but to stab someone so many times just doesn't seem right like he (Parkins) didn't have any control of what he was doing.
"If he doesn't have any control of what he is doing then he shouldn't be out in society walking around."
Mrs Parkins said: "Everywhere I look, I see him in my head.
"I see him in the garden. I walk round the shop and he's always coming round the corner, he's just always there and now he isn't.
"We were walking the dog and someone said you live where the murderer lived and I said no he's not a murderer, that is my son." Detective Superintendent Mike Branston, senior investigating officer, said the case showed the devastation a loss of control could cause to two families. He said: "It was just so innocuous, a Sunday afternoon in a small town. Then the severity of the attack. There were no winners from what happened."
He said Mrs Parkin did not really cooperate with the inquiry, while Mr Parkin had been more open, but he could understand the dilemma they faced. He said: "No parent wants to have that conversation with their child whether they committed something and had to be forced to make a decision of doing the right thing or follow their wishes and help them escape the scene. "I'm a parent, I've got two daughters and I hope I'm never put in the position that Robert's parents were put in." 24 Hours in Police Custody : Murder on the Doorstep Channel 4, tonight, Monday October 25, 9pm.