Man allegedly stabs 'arch rival' in the neck with knife after having sex all night with his girlfriend
29-year-old Ashley King has been accused in the stabbing death of Gareth Atkinson, who he had reportedly been feuding with on social media over a girl
The Leeds Crown Court in West Yorkshire recently heard some of the gruesome details in the murder of 25-year-old Gareth Atkinson. The main accused in the case is 29-year-old Ashley King, who is believed to have had a long-running feud with Atkinson over a girl that both of them were seeing, and who allegedly killed Atkinson over the same girl.
According to the Mirror, the court heard that King knifed Atkinson in the neck and killed him after having sex all night with the latter's girlfriend. The incident is said to have unfolded in the doorway of Atkinson's girlfriend Jade Walker-Saunders' apartment in Bentley Street, Lockwood, Huddersfield, on May 8 earlier this year.
Atkinson was reportedly fearful of King and had wanted to avoid confrontation. The court heard that the 25-year-old called Matthew Khan, a long-time friend of Walker-Saunders, before his death and asked him to go check on her at her flat.
He told Khan that he had to go pick up Walker-Saunders because she had been "s****** another man all night," and a photo of her performing a sexual act on him had him worried that King was "taking advantage of her". Atkinson is also said to have informed Khan that he couldn't go himself because he was worried he would be stabbed. King has denied stabbing and killing Atkinson, though the evidence seemed to certainly prove otherwise.
Prosecuting attorney Simon Kealey had detailed the extent of the pair's fraught relationship previously, telling the court how they had heated exchanges on social media about Walker-Saunders, as well as another woman named Shaunie Haigh.
Several of Atkinson's friends testified against King's erratic behavior, with one calling the pair "arch rivals". Sophie Ghaufoor told the court that King had showed up at her place a month before the 25-year-old's death and asked her to tell Atkinson that he would "get him", adding how she was worried that King had gone out of his way to find her residence.
Amber Prince, a friend of Haigh, similarly said that he had overheard the 29-year-old saying he had people watching Atkinson and that he was going to kill him. Prince said that King messaged her on Instagram a week before Atkinson's death with a string of threats he wanted her to pass on to a woman he said was "dirty like s***".
The Mirror also reported the testimony of Ryan Blackburn, a DJ who used to work at the Maverick's 80s Lounge with Atkinson. Blackburn said he once heard King tried to punch Atkinson in the face at Maverick's and that he saw the pair engage in a heated verbal confrontation. Blackburn said that another time Atkinson told him Walker-Saunders was seeing King.
He was asked how Atkinson felt about Miss Walker-Saunders allegedly cheating and he replied: "If your so-called partner had been sleeping with your arch enemy, you’re not going to be happy about it, are you?" He added that Atkinson was 'not one to initiate violence'.
Atkinson reportedly first went to Walker-Saunders' flat at around 6 pm on the night of the murder. At around 9 pm, Walker-Saunders was crying in the communal hallway and at 10 pm, she is said to have locked Atkinson out of the apartment. At some point during the same evening, Walker-Saunders apparently rang King via Facebook in "hysterics" and told him that Atkinson had assaulted her and smashed her phone.
Shaun Beaumont, her neighbor, testified and said he heard the girl say to a male, "Get off me, I don't deserve this". Walker-Saunders then went to a shop to borrow a phone to message King and the two then returned to the apartment together. Meanwhile, Atkinson left the flat of a friend where he had been receiving threats via Facebook and was stabbed in the neck by King through a gap in the door.
King was apprehended a little over 24 hours later at the house of friend Stephanie Bowman in Linthwaite. He had allegedly swallowed over 50 pills in a suicide attempt, telling police that Atkinson had come at him with a knife. His trial is expected to go on for another seven or eight days, with Bowman also charged with assisting the offender and intent to impede his apprehension and prosecution.