A father and son who committed a “harrowing and brutal” attack against a man in Downham Market have been found guilty of his murder.
Wayne Peckham, 48 and his 23-year-old son Riley, were today Thursday 9 March convicted by a jury of seven men and five women at Norwich Crown Court following a six-week trial. Reaching a unanimous decision, the jury took just 10-and-a-half hours to find both defendants guilty.
They had denied murdering Matthew Rodwell, 39, who had been in a relationship with Wayne’s wife and Riley’s mother.
The court heard the “brutal” attack happened at Wayne’s ex-partner’s home in Bulrush Close on 23 January last year. Earlier in the day, Wayne had visited the address to find no one home. During this visit, he moved the doorbell camera and returned later that evening with his son Riley. Like his father’s actions earlier in the day, Riley went to the back of the address and moved a CCTV camera before forcing their way into the house.
Matthew hid upstairs while making a frantic 999 call to police, which records the whole incident. Matthew is heard urging police to hurry before Riley can be heard in the background shouting ‘you are going to die”.
Riley and Matthew fight upstairs while Wayne is restrained downstairs by his ex-partner. Matthew ends up at the bottom of the stairs where Wayne then continues with the attack as the victims laid unconscious.
Officers arrived to find a chaotic and distressing scene and after handcuffing both defendants, they provided First Aid to Matthew who is badly injured. While officers are tending to him, Riley ran from the address, and was found two hours’ later at a relatives address in Paradise Road where, still handcuffed, he was arrested.
Despite the best efforts of the officers and paramedics, Matthew was pronounced dead at the scene.
Both Riley and Wayne were arrested on suspicion of murder and taken to King’s Lynn Police Investigation Centre for questioning.
Enquiries by the Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team revealed that Matthew had been threatened several times by Wayne and Riley during his relationship.
Both Wayne and Riley, of Manby Close, Hilgay, were convicted over an earlier assault against another man which happened in December 2021 in Downham Market.
Wayne was convicted of two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and but found not guilty of assault by beating. He was also convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against his ex-partner on January 23 last year.
Riley was also convicted assault occasioning actual bodily harm in relation to the same December incident.
Senior Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Chris Burgess, from the Major Investigation Team, welcomed the conviction. He said: “This was a harrowing and brutal murder and I know some of the evidence given in court, especially the 999 call, has been difficult to listen to.
“In this call, we hear the final frightening moments of Matthew’s life, a life taken by the actions of two men overcome with jealousy and rage, acting like a pack of animals.
“I want to thank the family and friends of Matthew for their patience, support and bravery throughout this investigation and I’m grateful the correct verdict has been reached by the jury in this case. Our thoughts remain with Matthew’s family and friends, and we will continue to support them for as long as they need.
“This was one of two murder investigations launched on the same night following the tragic death of 19-year-old Lauren Malt who was killed in nearby West Winch. While the timing and proximity of the incidents created challenges, we had sufficient resources in place to handle the murder investigations, both of which have led to the offenders being prosecuted.”
Wayne and Riley Peckham will be sentenced on Thursday 13 April 2023