Gang of burglars stabbed man to death after targeting wrong flat, court hears

Mark Noke. Pic: Hants policeMark Noke. Pic: Hants police
Mark Noke. Pic: Hants police | hants police
A group of burglars stabbed a man to death after targeting the wrong flat in a planned drugs and jewellery raid, a court has heard.

Mark Noke, 64, suffered a fatal stab to his right lung when he opened the door of his flat in Warburton Road, Southampton, Hampshire, on February 25 last year, to find the men wearing masks.

The trial at Winchester Crown Court of five men charged with his murder heard that Mr Noke was threatened with a gun to his head before he suffered the fatal stab wound.

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Adam Vaitilingam KC, prosecuting, said Mr Noke made a 999 call after the attempted robbery, but died despite paramedics arriving quickly at his top-floor flat.

He said the raiders, who had intended to target a different address on the same floor, but had taken a wrong turn on the landing, had left empty-handed.

He told the jury: “Late one night in February last year, a 64-year-old man called Mark Noke was stabbed to death in his own home in Southampton.

“Some men forced their way into his apartment, which was on the top floor of a big block of flats.

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“They were wearing masks, one threatened him with a gun and one plunged a knife into his chest, penetrating his lung, and that wound was fatal.

“Although he managed to call 999 and paramedics arrived quite quickly, he died before he could be transferred to hospital.

“The prosecution case is that these men had gone to that flat to commit a robbery, they were expecting to find drugs, cash and jewellery, but they had by mistake gone to the wrong flat.

“Their plan was to commit a robbery at 157, that was where the person they were actually targeting lived, but they had taken a wrong turning at the top of the stairs and gone to the wrong flat, 147, instead, and that was Mark Noke’s flat.

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“He came to the front door and they forced their way into his home, where he was threatened and stabbed, and because he wasn’t the person they were looking for and didn’t have the valuables, they left empty-handed.”

Mr Noke’s 999 call was played to the jury, during which he could be heard saying: “I have been stabbed. Please send an ambulance, I can hardly breathe. I’m passing out, blood is pouring out, I’m passing out.”

Kieran Claffey, 29, Leighton Tabone, 24, Bradley O’Dell, 22, Aaron Morgan, 32, and Justin Roach, 40, all from Southampton, are on trial charged with murder, manslaughter and conspiracy to commit robbery.

Two other men, Harley Wilson, 20, and Daniel Bull, 30, have also been charged with conspiracy to commit robbery.

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Mark Noke. Pic: Hants police


Mark Noke. Pic: Hants police
Mark Noke. Pic: Hants police | hants police

Mr Vaitilingam said that the intended target had been the nearby neighbour, who had been seen by Bull to have cash and jewellery in his flat and who had posted images of his valuables on social media.

Bull had then discussed with Wilson about carrying out a robbery at the address, and he then contacted the defendants, the prosecutor said.

The trial continues.