Man who murdered neighbour jailed for minimum of 38 years
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A man who murdered his neighbour in Walton Cardiff, near Tewkesbury last year has been told he must serve a minimum of 38 years behind bars.
Can Arslan, 52, was sentenced to life imprisonment at a hearing at Bristol Crown Court today, Thursday 9 June.
Arslan had stabbed Matthew Boorman at least 27 times on his front lawn, and then attempted to murder another nearby neighbour, Peter Marsden.
During the trial, the court heard how there had been a "long-running dispute" which involved several neighbours and the defendant.
An injunction was in place against Arslan and eviction proceedings were underway to remove him and his family from their home in Snowdonia Road.
The court heard how the defendant had threatened his neighbours, including threats to kill them. He had been charged with harassment a week prior to the incident.
Kate Brunner QC told jurors how on 5 October last year Arslan ambushed and attacked Mr Boorman, 43, as he returned home from work on a conference call on his mobile phone.
Mr Boorman's wife, Sarah, tried to save her husband and repeatedly attempted to pull Arslan off him, while screaming for help. She was stabbed in the thigh during the incident.
Arslan then forced entry to the rear garden of another nearby neighbour, Mr Marsden, who lived a short distance away. Arslan gained entry to the home and stabbed him eight times.
At this time Arslan had been pursued by an off-duty police officer, Sergeant Steve Wilkinson, who had armed himself with a piece of wood.
While being attacked, Mr Marsden managed to push Arslan out of his home and Sgt Wilkinson hit him with the piece of wood.
CCTV footage was shown to jurors which showed how several nearby neighbours congregated in the street to try and stop Arslan from hurting anyone else.
Another off-duty officer, PC Josh Norris, had collected two golf clubs and the group of around six or seven men then surrounded Arslan as he walked in the street.
The court also heard how during this time several neighbours, including two off-duty nurses, were trying to save Mr Boorman and provide medical assistance to him on his front lawn. They then carried Mr Boorman inside his home.
Police arrived and Arslan was red-dotted with a Taser; he then dropped the knife, and was arrested and taken into custody.
Arslan denied murder and he instead pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
During the trial, jurors were told by psychiatrists that Arslan had a personality disorder, but that he was in control of what he was doing that day and knew the difference between right and wrong.
His defence team, Howard Godfrey QC, told jurors that Arslan's decisions on that day were not rational, and that he was suffering from an "abnormality of mental function".
The jury dismissed that suggestion and on 5 April Arslan was found guilty of murder. He had previously admitted the attempted murder of Mr Marsden, causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Mrs Boorman and affray.
Judge Mrs Justice Cutts sentenced Arslan to life imprisonment to serve a minimum of 38 years for the murder of Mr Boorman.
Arslan also received concurrent sentences of 20 years for the attempted murder of Mr Marsden, six years for wounding Mrs Boorman and 16 months for affray.
Following the sentence hearing, Detective Inspector Ben Lavender said: "Arslan continues to not show a single shred of remorse for his barbaric actions and he deserves to spend a significant amount of time behind bars.
"What happened in October last year was truly horrific, and was witnessed by several people within the community who continue to recover from what unfolded.
"Numerous people intervened, and without their bravery other lives would likely have been taken that evening.
"I hope that knowing the person who committed such a savagely cruel act will be in prison for a very long time will bring some sense of comfort to all those impacted.
"Mr Boorman was a loving husband and devoted father of three young children. My condolences remain with his family and friends, with Mr Marsden and his family, and all those in the community who are traumatised by what took place."
Following the incident the Constabulary made a mandatory referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and it is currently investigating police actions.
To ensure all learning opportunities are identified, senior representatives from local agencies have also commissioned an independent, non-statutory partnership review, which will look at how both public and private sector organisations worked together to address the concerns of Arslan's neighbours.
Assistant Chief Constable Craig Holden said: "My thoughts remain with Matthew's family and friends, Peter Marsden and his family, and all those in the community who continue to suffer in light of Arslan's actions.
"While we are unable to comment on some aspects of the case while the IOPC investigation and independent review of the case are ongoing, we can reassure people that the Constabulary has already taken action to improve.
"One area where we believe we could have adopted a different approach is in viewing Arslan's behaviour and actions as stalking. Traditionally this has not been a focus in cases which present to our Neighbourhood Policing Teams as protracted neighbour disputes or long term anti-social behaviour of a resident within a community.
"However if Arslan's escalating actions had been considered in such a way, it is possible he would have been referred to the 'stalking clinic' we have in place in the county, in which offenders' actions are discussed and the risk a person poses can be assessed. The work at a clinic can lead to protective orders being issued, prohibiting offenders from certain activity but also requiring them to take positive action to address their behaviour.
"In light of this, tailored training has been delivered to all our neighbourhood teams and is now in place for new recruits. A number of officers in different departments are also being given special training to help increase expertise on stalking right across the Constabulary. These steps are intended to ensure that the possibility of stalking offences is fully considered in all cases, not just in relation to those it is traditionally associated with, such as domestic abuse and individuals fixated with others where the motivation is romantic or sexual.
"The Constabulary will act on any findings from the reviews that are taking place to ensure we are doing everything possible to keep people safe from harm."