A man “obsessed” with his previous partner has been jailed for life for murdering a love rival, whose death has left his family and loved ones “shattered and grieving”.
Mark Chilman killed Neil Parkinson, who was found after police were called to a layby in Ankerdine Road, near the village of Cotheridge, Worcestershire, at 10.30pm on 12 December last year.
Mr Parkinson, 66, of Clifton upon Teme, Worcestershire, was pronounced dead at the “quiet and remote” scene amid the torched wreckage of his BMW.
During sentencing, the judge said it was the “intention” of Chilman “to do harm to someone who had replaced you in the affections of your previous partner”.
A trial heard Chilman had told police “whatever, he’s out of the way now”, when detectives suggested to him that the blaze looked suspicious.
The 52-year-old, of Pencombe near Bromyard, Herefordshire, was convicted by a jury of murdering Mr Parkinson and sentenced at Worcester Crown Court on Monday.
Jailing Chilman for a minimum of 22 years, Judge James Burbidge QC said his crime had left Mr Parkinson’s family and loved ones, including Chilman’s ex-partner Juliet Adcock, “shattered and grieving”.
Sentencing him, he said: “On December 12, 2020, you lay in wait in a remote area near Gilt Edge Farm, Broadwas.
“It was your intention to do harm to someone who had replaced you in the affections of your previous partner Juliet Adcock – something you could not countenance for, as you said in your police interview, ‘I love her to bits… I am obsessed with her’.”
Chilman set about preparing for his crime, “scoping” the farm, stealing two petrol jerry cans, buying disposable mobile phones and leaving his own phone in another location – while asking a friend to give him a false alibi.
Chilman armed himself with a weapon – possibly a hammer – and lay in wait in the night for Mr Parkinson to leave Ms Adcock’s farm, before striking him on the back of the head.
Judge Burbidge said: “I am satisfied when Mr Parkinson drove down the driveway away from the farm to the gate, in order to go and care for his dementia-suffering 94-year-old mother – as he did each and every evening – when he got out of the vehicle to lock the gate… you sprung upon him.”
Mr Parkinson was hit with such force, it fractured the base of his skull, rendering him unconscious.
The judge said: “You drove him to a layby and there, in his own car, arranged him in the driver’s seat and poured petrol over him and the vehicle.”
As his victim burned, Chilman used a disposable phone to send what the judge described as a “lengthy text (message) in despicable and defamatory terms, trying to suggest it was Mr Parkinson himself attempting to commit suicide”.
Judge Burbidge accepted the death of Chilman’s father some years before had hit him hard, adding the loss of his relationship with Ms Adcock had sent his world “crashing down”.
But the judge said Chilman’s love and affection for Ms Adcock became “misplaced”, and he “could not bear for her to be happy with anyone else”.