Father and son ‘murdered wife’s new partner after finding him hiding in wardrobe’
A father and his son murdered his wife’s new partner after they found him hiding in an upstairs wardrobe in her home, a court has heard.
Wayne Peckham, 49, and his son Riley, 23, are on trial at Norwich Crown Court having both denied the murder of Matthew Rodwell, 39.
The court heard the pair are accused of attacking Mr Rodwell after they found him at the home of Wayne’s wife and Riley’s mother Kerry, with whom he had started a relationship.
Riel Karmy-Jones KC, prosecuting, said a “terrified” Mr Rodwell had hidden in a wardrobe when the pair arrived at the house in Downham Market, Norfolk. From there, he made a frantic 999 call to police, she said.
She told the court: “Matthew, still hiding in a cupboard upstairs, heard Kerry downstairs. He hid in the wardrobe and called 999.”
Ms Karmy-Jones said Mr Rodwell, from Fincham, was “terrified about being found by Riley and Wayne”. She said during the call, made from a bedroom wardrobe in her youngest son’s room, Mr Rodwell expressed “genuine fear about what was about to take place”.
The jury heard Mrs Peckham had let her son, Riley, in through a window after she had heard him on a roof outside on the evening of 23 January last year. Ms Karmy-Jones said Mrs Peckham had tried to get him to go but he shouted and his father then entered the house.
Riley picked up Mr Rodwell’s shoes, and with his mother still telling him she did not want him in the house, he called out “he’s here”, after finding the victim in the cupboard, the court heard.
Ms Karmy-Jones said: “Riley said: ‘You’re going to die, you’re going to die’.”
Mrs Peckham heard a struggle break out upstairs and tried to prevent Wayne from “going upstairs by blocking him” and she could hear Riley and Mr Rodwell “grappling with each other”, jurors were told.
The prosecution said Wayne “barged” past but Mrs Peckham tried to grab hold of his leg as Mr Rodwell was assaulted at the top of the stairs. Ms Karmy-Jones said “it’s clear she cannot see exactly what happens” as she fell down the stairs.
Mr Rodwell also ends up at the bottom of the stairs although “she couldn’t see exactly how Matt got down the stairs”, she said.
When at the bottom of the stairs Wayne began “kicking, stamping and punching” Mr Rodwell to “his body and face”, Ms Karmy-Jones said.
The court heard Mrs Peckham tried to prevent the attack by placing her body on top of Mr Rodwell, and she was also struck.
Ms Karmy-Jones said he had “over 40 significant injuries as a result of the attack that was inflicted upon him”.
He was pronounced dead at the scene. A post-mortem examination revealed that Mr Rodwell died as a result of strangulation.
The court heard police arrived at about 8.05pm and could hear “screaming” from inside. A distraught Kerry Peckham came to the door with the body of Mr Rodwell lying in the hall.
The court heard Mrs Peckham moved in with Mr Rodwell after ending her “turbulent” relationship with Wayne, the father of her three children, who was “rough, volatile and controlling” towards her.
Ms Karmy-Jones said Wayne could be “aggressive” after drinking and was a “bad influence” on his son Riley.
As well as murder Wayne, of Hilgay, near Downham has been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm against Mrs Peckham.
He has also denied two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and another offence of assault by beating in relation to an earlier incident in Downham Market on 4 December 2021.
Riley, also of Hilgay, denies assault occasioning actual bodily harm in relation to the same incident on 4 December.
Ms Karmy-Jones said the prosecution case was that this was a “joint enterprise” in which the two defendants had “acted together to settle scores”.
The trial continues.