Man gets two life terms for murdering neighbour and attempting to kill friend

Wayne Rule
Wayne Rule

A convicted killer who murdered his neighbour and attempted to kill his former housemate before a stand-off with armed police has been given two life sentences.

Wayne Rule will serve a minimum of 35 years in prison for stabbing 51-year-old Darren Kirk to death less than an hour after he had attempted to kill his friend, Mark Stone, in Spalding, Lincolnshire, in the early hours of December 20 2021.

Lincoln Crown Court heard on Friday that during a stand-off with armed police before his arrest, Rule, a father-of-two, boasted about killing Pc Jon Odell during an attempted traffic stop in Margate, Kent, in December 2000, for which he was jailed for nine years for manslaughter.

Handing down the sentence, Mr Justice Picken said the case was not suitable for a whole life order.

He said: “Fortunately, (Rule’s first victim) survived. Tragically, that was not the case for your second victim that night, Mr Kirk.

“Mr Kirk leaves behind a family whose distress is as understandable as it is profound.

“(Mr Kirk’s partner Sam Costello) had to watch Mr Kirk be killed by you and had to listen to him asking for help, which she could not give him because you had told her that you would kill her too.”

Prosecutor Paul Cavin KC said that at around 1.10am on the day of the murder, Rule forced his way into the flat of Mr Kirk, his downstairs neighbour at Cygnet Court, Spalding.

After “herding” Mr Kirk into the kitchen, Rule fatally stabbed him multiple times in front of his partner before leaving the knife, bent out of shape, in the hallway.

The court heard how Rule’s flat had been raided by police days before on suspicion of drugs offences, with Mr Kirk’s partner claiming that Rule – a regular heroin and crack cocaine user – wrongly believed Mr Kirk had passed information on to officers, but this could not be confirmed.

Ms Costello said: “Wayne Rule has taken away my best friend, my partner and my rock.

“He has ruined everything in our lives and should never be allowed the freedom to hurt us or anyone else again.”

After killing Mr Kirk, Rule, 47, returned to his upstairs flat and threatened to shoot officers when they came to his door.

Mr Cavin said: “Rule asked if Darren Kirk was dead and continued to make several threats to shoot the first cop through his front door.

“Armed officers attended and the defendant boasted about having killed a police officer in the past, which turned out to be true, and that he had a shotgun in the flat, and he would kill another.”

After a hostage negotiator arrived at the scene, Rule surrendered and was arrested at around 7am. No gun was ever recovered.

Less than an hour before the murder, Rule had attempted to kill his friend Mr Stone by stabbing him 12 times at a property in Bowditch Road, Spalding, believing he had had an affair with his former partner.

The victim, in his 40s, suffered a punctured lung, two fractured ribs, and several stab wounds and lacerations after Rule burst into his bedroom with two knives while he slept.

When he begged Rule not to kill him, Rule responded “that is what I came here for” before taking drugs and money and leaving one of the knives on the driveway.

In his victim statement, Mr Stone said: “I believe from the actions and from where he was looking, (Rule) was aiming to stab me in the heart.

“I truly believed I was going to die.”

In a second statement, the victim said: “I used to do everything for Wayne … he was such a good mate and we lived together on and off.

“I can’t get my head around the fact that he tried to kill me.”

Rule, who has 21 convictions for 71 offences, was due to stand trial on January 16 but pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder on January 4.

Bernard Richmond KC, mitigating, said that Rule’s drug use had contributed to negative mental well-being, which had improved while in custody.

He said: “The pressures upon him at that time were significant. I say immediately that Mr Rule does not in any way victim-blame.

“There were things going on in his mind at that time that were very difficult.

“Mr Rule is now trying very hard to explain what is now inexplicable, which is this overwhelming feeling of everything around him crumbling and feeling very angry because of it.”

Rule will serve a life sentence with a minimum of 35 years for the murder of Mr Kirk, and a concurrent life sentence, with a minimum of 14 years, for the attempted murder.