A father and son who murdered a thief who had been trying car doors around their housing estate have been handed life sentences.
Tesco worker Edward King, 20, left his house with a two-foot-long sword after he saw on CCTV a person trying car doors and giving the thumbs up, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
His father David King, 56 – who worked for construction firm Morgan Sindall – armed himself with a dagger and left their home in Radnor Close, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, around a minute after his son.
Thief Neil Charles, 47, was fatally stabbed by the dagger, and sliced across the knee by the sword, in the early hours of June 20, 2021, prosecutor Richard Kelly said.
He described it as “vigilante behaviour” by the father and son, and “revenge or retaliation”.
The prosecutor said that the pair had been “looking to exact violence upon a local thief”.
Mr Kelly said there were attempts to cover up Edward King’s involvement in what happened.
Both defendants had denied murder, but were found guilty following an earlier trial.
Judge Martyn Levett sentenced David King, who inflicted the fatal wound, to life in prison with a minimum term of 21 years, which he must serve before he can be considered for release.
He sentenced Edward King, who was just 18 at the time of the killing, to life in prison with a minimum term of 19 years.
The two men showed no reaction as they were led to the cells.
The judge said both men went out “with the intention of hunting down Mr Charles and at least causing him really serious harm”.
He said a message thread indicated that the men thought they “needed the likes of Charles Bronson to bring justice back to the streets”.
Police said they had received a 999 call from David King at around 3.55am on June 20 stating a man had been trying to steal from his car on the Moreton Hall estate.
Mr Kelly said: “We do not say there was an intention to kill in this case.
“The intention was to do really serious bodily harm.”
Kieran Vaughan KC, for David King, said the defendant was “simply not the type of man to take a weapon on the street with the intention of causing serious injury to somebody”.
Nicholas Whitehorn, for Edward King, said the defendant was “immature” at the time and took the sword to “wave around to scare off or ward off any attack on his house or on his vehicles”.
Teaching assistant Linnet Booth, the sister of Mr Charles, said in a victim impact statement that he was a “kind and gentle person” who was “never aggressive and always one to retreat when he didn’t like a situation”.
She said he had been due to marry his fiance Michelle Jackson in August 2021.
“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,” said Ms Booth.
Ms Jackson described Mr Charles as “loving, caring and kind”.
Heather King, the wife of David King and mother of Edward King, said in a statement that they were “in the process of appealing” against the convictions.