Skegness

Lincolnshire couple who stabbed man to death after argument at funeral wake jailed

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A Lincolnshire couple who killed a man following an altercation at a funeral wake have been jailed for 10 years.

Sean Booth and his wife Sarah, attacked their victim Wayne Baxter after he arrived outside their home following the earlier incident at the Woolpack Inn in Wainfleet.

Lincoln Crown Court was told that Mr Baxter was not part of the wake but was drinking at the same pub and became involved in what began as “banter” in the bar.

Baxter, who was a friend of the Booths, later drove his car at Sarah Booth in the pub car park narrowly missing her.

He then went to the Booth’s home and smashed up Sarah Booth’s Ford Focus before driving away.

But he subsequently went back to the house and was walking towards the back door when the Booths emerged from their kitchen armed with knives and stabbed him to death.

Sarah Booth, 37, and Sean Booth, 26, both of Croft Bank, Wainfleet, admitted manslaughter on the grounds of loss of control on March 2, 2016.

Their pleas of not guilty to murder were accepted by the prosecution.

Peter Joyce QC, prosecuting, said that Mr Baxter suffered 11 stab wounds to his chest and neck. One of the blows went through his heart and his liver and lungs were also damaged.

The prosecutor said: “These two defendants deliberately armed themselves with a number of knives from their home and went outside to attack Mr Baxter.

“He was unarmed. There are no signs of him having time to defend himself. He hadn’t even put his hands up before he was stabbed. It was a straight forward attack on a man who was not armed by two people who were armed with knives.”

Mr Joyce said that the Booths were at the wake which followed the funeral of a local resident. Baxter was not among the mourners but was drinking in the bar with a friend.

“During the course of the wake there was seen to be banter Wayne Baxter and Sarah Booth which got increasingly heated as time went on.

“The argument continued outside the pub into the smoking area where they continued to have a go at each other.”

The landlord asked Mr Baxter to leave and his response was to he was going to come back at 3 am and burn down the pub.

“Baxter briefly left then drove back into the pub car park where Sarah Booth was standing. She was seen to throw a shoe at the car. Wayne Baxter was then seen to have almost hit her. He then crashed into another vehicle before leaving the car park at speed.”

Afterwards Baxter went to the Booth’s home and smashed the rear windscreen of Sarah Booth’s car before driving off.

The Booths returned home and found the damage and minutes later Mr Baxter returned and was attacked as he headed for the back door.

Judge Michael Heath, passing sentence, said: “This was an assault by two of you upon a man who was unarmed. It was ferocious.

“He suffered 11 stab wounds. Neither of you summoned any help leaving him dead or dying in your garden.

“I have not detected remorse in either of you.

“It is plain what a devastating effect this has had on Mr Baxter’s widow and children.”

Michael Evans QC, for Sarah Booth, said “She would not have behaved in this way but for the loss of control. At the time she feared serious injury from the victim. She was terrified and lost control.”

Shaun Smith, for Sean Booth, said he was a very close friend of Wayne Baxter.

“He did not want to kill his friend. What happened has devastated him.”