Train passenger 'savagely stabbed to death in front of his son in row over blocked aisle'

Will Metcalfe
Lee Pomeroy, right, was allegedly attacked by Darren Pencille five minutes after boarding a London-bound train from Surrey in January, the Old Bailey was told.

A train passenger was stabbed 18 times in a ‘savage’ and ‘unrelenting’ knife attack in front of his 14-year-old son after a row over blocking the aisle, a court has heard.

Lee Pomeroy, 51, was attacked by Darren Pencille, 36, five minutes after boarding a London-bound train at Guildford, Surrey, in January, the Old Bailey was told.

Pencille's girlfriend Chelsea Mitchell, 27, allegedly picked him up afterwards and bought hair clippers and razors for him to change his appearance.

Pencille, of no fixed address, denies murder and Mitchell, of Farnham, Surrey, pleads not guilty to assisting an offender.

A private ambulance arrives at Horsley station near Guildford, Surrey, after a murder inquiry was launched following the stabbing of a man on board a train in Surrey.

Opening their trial, Jake Hallam QC said Mr Pomeroy was killed the day before he was due to celebrate his 52nd birthday.

At 1.01pm on Friday January 4, Mr Pomeroy and his son boarded a train at London Road station in Guildford bound for London Waterloo.

Mr Hallam told the jury: ‘He did not leave it alive. Within five minutes of boarding that train, Lee Pomeroy had been stabbed in the neck by the first defendant, Darren Pencille.

‘It was the first of 18 knife wounds that he inflicted upon him.

‘A little over an hour after he boarded the train, and despite the best efforts of the emergency services who rushed to save his life, Lee Pomeroy was dead.’

A forensics officer removes items at Horsley station near Guildford, Surrey, after a murder inquiry was launched following the stabbing of a man on board a train in Surrey.

The prosecutor told jurors the events surrounding the killing were captured on CCTV and witnessed by other passengers.

The Pomeroys had boarded the same carriage as Pencille and made their way down the aisle, the court heard.

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Mr Hallam suggested that the father and son may have been ‘blocking’ Pencille's way, prompting the snide response: ‘Ignorance is bliss’.

Pencille allegedly made the comment twice before Mr Pomeroy asked what he meant.

It led to a ‘heated’ row, which was ‘fast-moving, unexpected and tragic’, Mr Hallam said.

A passenger who witnessed the argument said Pencille was the aggressor. He allegedly swore at Mr Pomeroy in front of his teenage son, calling him a ‘p***y’.

Pencille, 36, is on trial at the Old Bailey, accused of 'savagely' stabbing Pomeroy, 51, in front of his teenage son on a train from Guildford to London.

Pencille allegedly shouted: ‘You touch me, you touch me and you see what happens at the next stop.’

Mr Pomeroy reportedly then demanded an apology, saying: ‘You should not have humiliated me in front of my kid.’

Pencille allegedly called Mr Pomeroy racist despite him not mentioning race, and the father taunted him back, saying: ‘I’ve never dealt with someone with special needs before.’

Mr Pomeroy went on: ‘Listen, right. I dare you, I dare you. I dare you. Put your hand on me. Put your hand on me, ‘cos it won’t end nicely. Put your hand on me.’

As Mr Pomeroy remonstrated, Pencille swung the knife and plunged it into his neck, jurors were told.

Chelsea Mitchell, 27, is accused of assisting Pencille by helping him change his appearance as he fled from the train minutes after the attack.

Mr Hallam said: ‘Eyewitnesses saw what they thought was the two men trading punches. They were half right.

‘They saw Lee Pomeroy punching the first defendant, defending himself, having been stabbed in the neck by him. But the first defendant wasn’t punching back, he was stabbing. Again, and again, and again.

‘The 18 knife wounds found to Lee Pomeroy’s body when it was examined in a post-mortem provided the dreadful proof of the savagery of the first defendant’s unrelenting assault upon him – with a wound to his neck, eight to his torso, and others to his arm, his hands and his thigh, all inflicted in a matter of seconds in the same sustained attack.’

The court heard the train reached Clandon station at 1.06pm and Pencille gathered his belongings before fleeing.

He allegedly dumped his hat, sunglasses and jacket in woodland before meeting Mitchell.

Mr Hallam said: ‘Minutes after he killed a man he's talking to her and it's obvious what the two of them would have spoken about, what was at the forefront of his mind. He's killed somebody - what to do and how he needs her help.’

The trial continues.

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