A postman has been jailed for 13 years for the manslaughter of his daughter’s partner who was stabbed to death.
Barry Rewcroft, 51, of Raincliffe Avenue, Scarborough was cleared by a jury last Friday at Leeds Crown Court of murdering 49-year-old Shaun Atkinson but convicted by an 11 to one majority of unlawfully killing him.
Rewcroft’s son Ruben, 20, was found not guilty of both murder and manslaughter.
Sentencing Bzrry Rewcroft today Mr Justice Soole said after his daughter Ella and his two grandsons had arrived at his home on December 27 in distress and the boys screaming their father was coming to kill them, he and Ruben had decided to “go down to confront Shaun.”
“You had been drinking that afternoon. You took with you a kitchen knife with a nine-inch blade and Ruben took a child’s bat.”
CCTV showed Ruben went into Mr Atkinson’s home first about 15 seconds ahead of Mr Rewcroft.
“Within moments of your entry into the kitchen, you launched a ferocious assault on Shaun with the knife. He was unarmed. You inflicted 56 wounds of which 48 were stabbing wounds and eight were slashing wounds to his front, back and sides.”
The judge said all that happened in one minute 20 seconds CCTV capturing when he left.
He said in evidence Barry Rewcroft described intending only to try and calm Shaun down, but aware of his violent history had taken the knife for protection only using it when he Mr Atkinson had fought his son and then come at him saying “Do you want some.”
He could not remember what happened after that and his counsel Richard Wright QC described it as “a minute of madness.”
The judge said from the jury’s verdicts: “It follows that I sentence you on the basis that there was no pre-planning of this assault, that you and Ruben went down to confront him in consequence of his latest behaviour, that you took the knife for self-protection and that you suddenly unleashed this attack without intent to kill or cause him really serious injury.”
But he said Shaun was unarmed. “If there was any initial aggression from him it must have been minor.”
He told Rewcroft that the background of Shaun’s behaviour to his daughter provided no mitigation for the offence. The primary mitigation was his handing himself into the police station and his behaviour there demonstrated clear and compelling remorse.
He also accepted evidence from work colleagues at Royal Mail that he was hard-working, gentle, kind and social in his normal life.
He said he had read moving statements from Mr Atkinson’s two other sons. One from Kain Atkinson which was read in court said: “I miss my dad every day, he was not only my father he was also my best friend.”
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Andrea Kell, from the Cleveland and North Yorkshire Major Investigation Team, said: “We note the verdict and we are satisfied with the sentence. Our thoughts are with Shaun Atkinson’s family.
“Joe, Shaun’s son, sat through the two-week trial and listened to the horrific injuries his father sustained. He has displayed a level of maturity beyond his years.
“With the court proceedings now concluded, I truly hope that Joe and his family can begin the process of rebuilding their lives.”
In tribute to his father, Joe Atkinson, 19, said: “It was such a shock when I heard about my dad. He was a kind-hearted, hard-working, lovely, charming person who would make time for anyone at any time.
“He loved his family and friends more than anything else. He will be dearly missed by his family, friends and, in particular, his children.”