Murder case drags on as questions remain over killer’s past

Andrew Lucas
Andrew Lucas
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A FAMILY faces further agony after a court was unable to tell them if their son’s murderer had killed before.

Mark Spalding was due to be sentenced yesterday for stabbing 20-year-old Andrew Lucas to death in Washington last November.

But the hearing at Newcastle Crown Court was delayed due to a lack of evidence surrounding claims Spalding also killed a security guard in Dubai 27 years ago.

Prosecutors allege the 45-year-old was sentenced to 10 years in jail for killing the guard in the United Arab Emirates in June 1986.

But John Elvidge, defending Spalding, said an appeal later led to the conviction being quashed.

Mr Elvidge said: “Mr Spalding had been out drinking in various hotels in Dubai with a man called Brown.

“They then decided to visit a complex in Brown’s station wagon to see some air hostesses. The security guard, however, would not let them into the compound.”

According to the defence, a confrontation then took place in which the guard hit Mr Brown with a weapon before Spalding chased him across the road to a central reservation, “striking” him.

However, Spalding claims the guard was still alive when he and Brown fled the scene.

Mr Elvidge added: “The security guard was in fact killed by a collision with a motor vehicle. It has been alleged, but not established, that it was the vehicle Spalding was travelling in.”

However, despite attempts to make contact with officials in Dubai, the court heard it had not been determined if Spalding’s case had ever been appealed, or what the nature of the original conviction was.

Judge John Milford QC told the court he was disappointed progress could not be made.

Spalding faces a life sentence, but the minimum terms he must serve could be increased considerably should the alleged manslaughter conviction stand.

Judge Milford said: “It’s exceedingly regrettable there is to be a further adjournment.

“I would have expected there would have been court records in Dubai.”

Spalding accepts that he received a seven-year jail sentence in relation to burglary and escaping from legal custody while in Dubai, near the time of the alleged manslaughter conviction.

Spalding, of Kestrel Close, Ayton, Washington, stabbed Andrew to death last November following a row over a stolen mobile phone.

He had denied murder, but was convicted by a jury.