BREAKING: Father and son not guilty of murder

Shaun Atkinson
Shaun Atkinson

A father and son have been found not guilty of murdering a Scarborough man - but the father was convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Barry Rewcroft and his son Ruben, 20, both of Raincliffe Avenue, Scarborough both denied killing Shaun Atkinson at his home in St John's Avenue on December 27.

Barry Rewcroft, 51, said he did not remember stabbing Shaun Atkinson 56 times at his home after the pair went round after Barry Rewcroft's daughter, Mr Atkinson's partner, came home in tears saying he was threatening to kill her and her child.

Today, a jury found them both not guilty of the murder.

Barry Rewcroft was found guilty of manslaughter by a majority of 11-1.

Ruben Rewcroft was found not guilty of manslaughter and was released.

The pair hugged as the verdicts were read out at Leeds Crown Court. Barry Rewcroft will be sentenced on Friday July 7.

Earlier this week Ruben Rewcroft told the jury in his defence that he had no idea his father had taken a knife with him when they went to Mr Atkinson's home.

They did not discuss on the journey what would happen when they got there and he got out first and went through the back door into the kitchen. “I was just going round to tell him to stay away from my sister, to stay away from my mum, to stay away from us.”

“I saw Shaun, he was leaning against the work top right in front of me. I said ‘Come on Shaun, what’s going on’ and he leapt at me straight away.”

“We were fighting, like hugging, not like a proper fight, throwing each other about sort of. I remember there were punches being thrown but there were no serious punches.”

He said he could not remember if he connected with any and did not feel pain if Shaun had caught him with any, and their grappling together stopped when his father entered the kitchen.

“My dad came in and Shaun said ‘Do you want some as well’ and went for my dad.”

He told the jury that was when he saw the knife and just froze for a couple of seconds. “I just couldn’t believe it.”

“I just saw my dad stabbing him and then like as soon as I’ve come back to reality, as soon as I stopped like being frozen I grabbed hold of my dad and tried to get him off him.”

He sobbed and put his head in his hands in the witness box, after he told the jury he could not manage to stop him. “It felt like for ages, I don’t know. I was trying to pull him off.”

He said: “Shaun went to the floor, that’s when I finally got him off, it felt so long.”

The jury heard from character witnesses this week on behalf of Barry Rewcroft who described him as “jovial” and “gentle.”

Talking about the day Mr Atkinson died he told the court he had taken a knife from his kitchen and had it up his sleeve when his son was driving him to Mr Atkinson’s home.

Asked why he had armed himself with the knife he said: “I still keep thinking about this over and over again. It was inconceivable I even picked it up but I’m thinking I’m going to, purely for protection.”

“It is still inconceivable that I picked it up, I abhor violence of any sort.”