Son found guilty of murdering his father gets life sentence

13/09/2010

A man who sent Christmas cards to neighbours from his father, just months after killing him and burying his body in the back garden, was found guilty of murder on 8 September, by a majority verdict.

Mark Alexander, 22, of Fleet Street, London, was convicted after a trial at Reading Crown Court. The body of his father, Samuel Alexander, aged 70, was found under layers of concrete in the back garden of his home in Prospect Place, Drayton Parslow, on 10 February this year. 

CPS case lawyer Denis Burke said: 'Mark Alexander has been convicted of murdering his father, Sami Alexander, between 20/08/2009 and 10/02/2010. He burned the body, and then subsequently disposed of the body parts in the garden of the family home, under concrete. Subsequently, Mark has consistently denied any knowledge of his fathers disappearance; has lied to neighbours about his fathers whereabouts and the Crown claims, has repeatedly lied under oath as to his participation in his fathers death. This was a truly gruesome end for Mr Alexander senior.  The CPS and police worked closely together in what was a complex and unusual case of patricide, or the act of killing ones father, with strong circumstantial evidence backed up by forensic material.  The sentence of the court reflects the seriousness and callousness of this defendants behaviour'. 

Samuel Alexander's disappearance was discovered after concerned villagers in Drayton Parslow told their neighbourhood policing team they hadnt seen the retired lecturer for months, despite receiving cards from him at Christmas. They had seen his son Mark occasionally at the house, but when asked, he told them his father was away, which seemed out of character. 

They also reported seeing Mark taking delivery of a batch of ready mixed concrete. A missing person enquiry was launched on 4 February and Mark Alexander was arrested on suspicion of murder the next day. As the search continued outside in the garden, officers uncovered the remains of Samuel Alexander under layers of concrete. 

DCI Joe Kidman, who led the investigation, said: 'This investigation arose out of the concerns of a close community who confided their concerns to their local neighbourhood team, which led to a prompt and robust response by local officers and detectives. A murder investigation with a person in custody, where no body has been found, carried out as part of a missing person enquiry, is very intense and demanding. The investigation team showed great tenacity and professionalism in reconstructing the lives of both the deceased victim, Samuel Alexander, and his son Mark. Those at the scene, including scenes of crime officers, had to endure exceptionally difficult conditions to secure evidence from the grave and recover the body.

Mark Alexander was sentenced on 10 September at Reading Crown Court to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum of 16 years.