A father and son have been handed life sentences after murdering a thief who had been operating in their neighbourhood.
David King, 56, and his son Edward, 20, were convicted of the murder of 47-year-old Neil Charles, after attacking him with a ninja sword and a knife.
The 'vigilante' father and son had been alerted to a thief trying to open doors on cars and houses on their estate, and decided to take action themselves.
Suffolk police say that David and Edward, who had a 'fascination with weapons', didn't bother to contact the police and decided to 'take the law into their own hands.'
On the night of the attack, back in June 2021, David used a double-edged knife while his son Edward armed himself with a 27-inch ninja sword.
Neil Charles, who had a number of previous convictions relating to burglary and theft, died from a 12cm stab wound in the chest.
His knee had also been sliced by the ninja sword.
Ipswich Crown Court heard that police eventually received a 999 call from David just before 4am on 20 June, reporting that a man had tried to steal his car.
He claimed over the phone that he had tried to chase after the thief, but he had run off.
The father also told the call centre that he had a knife in his hand, but couldn't tell if the thief was 'play acting' or genuinely injured when he claimed he had been hurt by the weapon.
When officers arrived on the scene, they found David King away from his home address, and where the stabbing had taken place.
Officers say they found Mr Charles in Winsford Road seriously wounded and that he died two days later in hospital.
While David was arrested at the scene, his son Edward was detained by police later that day.
David and Edward denied the intentional killing of Mr Charles, but both were convicted in May 2022.
They have since been handed life sentences.
While David was sentenced to a minimum of 21 years behind bars, his son Edward will serve a minimum of 19.
Prosecutor Richard Kelly described the incident as 'vigilante behaviour', claiming that the father and son were 'looking to exact violence upon the thief'.
In his ruling, Judge Martyn Levett agreed that the father and son had gone out 'with the intention of hunting down Mr Charles and at least causing him really serious harm.'
In a victim impact statement, Linnet Booth, the sister of Mr Charles, described him as a 'kind and gentle person' who was 'never aggressive and always one to retreat when he didn't like a situation'.
She said: "We know he took the wrong path in life but he wasn't violent or aggressive and that night he was simply trying to get away."
Heather King, the wife of David and mother of Edward, has said in a statement that they were 'in the process of appealing' the convictions.Featured Image Credit: Suffolk Police