‘DOG ROW LED TO FATAL STABBING’

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A man accused of stabbing another man with a screwdriver in a row about a pet dog will now give evidence on Tuesday.

Mark Turner, who is charged with murdering Robin Lionett during a row in Ashwell Road in Bury St Edmunds, had been due to take the stand to give evidence today.

However the case has been adjourned until Tuesday after a juror went sick.

Turner, 48, of Green Lane, Cockfield, denies the murder charge and has been on trial at Ipswich Crown Court this week.

Police arrived at Mr Lionnet’s home in the early hours of February 21 to find Turner sitting outside in a red van, smoking a cigarette with a screwdriver on the seat.

They then heard Mr Lionett in his back garden crying out for help.

Officers had to smash a hole in the garden fence to get to Mr Lionett, who was lying on the patio. By the time they got to him he had stopped breathing and had no pulse.

Paramedics tried in vain to revive him – Mr Lionett was pronounced dead at West Suffolk Hospital.

A post-mortem examination found that he had suffered a 6cm deep stab wound which had punctured his lung.

Traces of heroin substitute methadone, prescribed by doctors for people coming off the drug, were found in Mr Lionett’s blood.

Neighbours told the jury how they called police after they heard a man threaten to kill Mr Lionett while demanding he hand over his pet dog, Max.

One neighbour, Julie Fox, said she dialled 999 and gave police a running commentary.

She said Mr Lionett was repeatedly punched by another man.

“He was really punching him. The guy wasn’t defending himself. He couldn’t,” she said.

She said the attacker then walked to a red van and put Mr Lionett’s dog in the back.

Another neighbour, Trevor Matthews, also said he heard someone threatening to kill Mr Lionett.

He said he saw a ‘very angry’ man in the street telling himself to calm down. The man then got into a red van.

A police firearms unit was sent to the scene.

Pc Stuart Ruegg, armed with a taser device, opened the door of the van and found Turner sitting in the driver’s seat, with his arms crossed, smoking a cigarette while a screwdriver was on the passenger seat.

Peter Gair, prosecuting, said Mr Lionett had been living alone with the dog, after his relationship with a woman called Claire ended on New Year’s Eve in 2010. She and her two daughters then moved in with Turner.

Mr Gair said Turner, when interviewed by police, admitted he had gone to collect the family pet dog with the intention of ‘making everyone happy’.

He said Mr Lionett had come towards him and as he pushed him away, he fell over.

Turner denied being in possession of any kind of weapon.

The trial continues.