Wife pays tribute to husband stabbed by neighbour as ‘honest and kind man’

·3-min read

The wife of a man stabbed to death on his front lawn by a neighbour has paid tribute to him as a “good, honest and kind man who never fell out with anybody”.

Matthew Boorman, 43, was murdered by Can Arslan, 52, as he walked to his front door in Walton Cardiff, near Tewkesbury, in Gloucestershire, on the afternoon of October 5 last year.

Arslan seriously wounded the victim’s wife Sarah Boorman as she tried to save her husband, before forcing his way into the home of another neighbour, Peter Marsden, and stabbing him eight times.

The defendant had subjected his community to 12 years of threats and abuse and had recently learned he was to be evicted for his behaviour.

Arslan denied murder, pleading guilty instead to a lesser charge of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, but was convicted after a trial in April and jailed for life with a minimum term of 38 years at Bristol Crown Court on Thursday.

In a victim impact statement, Mrs Boorman described her husband as a devoted father who loved playing with his children and “enjoyed all parts of parenting”.

“Our children knew nothing but love and care and kindness,” she said.

She continued: “Matthew was a good, honest and kind man who never fell out with anybody.”

Mrs Boorman described how the family had endured years of Arslan threatening to rape and murder them, and verbally abusing them.

She said life was like “living in the middle of a war zone, we were always on edge about what was going to happen”.

The Boormans’ three children, then aged 12, seven and two, were in the house during the attack, with the eldest running to shut his siblings in the lounge to protect them.

Mrs Boorman said: “I struggle to explain to Matt’s biggest fans, his children – they don’t understand why a bad man would want to hurt their daddy so much they can’t ever see him again.”

Mrs Boorman thanked the neighbours who had tried to save her husband and tackle Arslan.

Can Arslan court case
CCTV footage showed Can Arslan’s rampage through Walton Cardiff after murdering Matthew Boorman (Gloucestershire Police/PA)

“I want to say thank you to the heroes who came to help me and tried to save Matt,” she said.

“Many of them were people I had never met before. I didn’t know their names and I didn’t know if they had families waiting for them, but they came to help me and tried to save Matt by selflessly running towards danger.”

She continued: “These strangers, with kindness and love, came to my rescue.”

Mrs Boorman added: “Matt didn’t die in the front garden where he was attacked, he died in our house, away from the evil man, and with love around him.”

Mr Boorman’s family previously criticised the “toothless” response by police and other agencies in response to the years of abuse and threats from Arslan.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has opened an investigation into Gloucestershire Police’s actions in light of the many reported incidents prior to Mr Boorman’s death.

The IOPC said on Thursday: “As part of our investigation to date, we have served a misconduct notice on one police constable in relation to their contact with Mr Arslan.

“Such notices advise an officer their conduct is subject to investigation and do not necessarily mean any disciplinary proceedings will follow.

“Our independent investigation began in November following a mandatory referral from Gloucestershire Constabulary straight after Mr Boorman’s death about prior police contact, and subsequent referrals of complaints.”

A spokesman from Tewkesbury Council said previously that its powers to evict people from private housing was “extremely limited”.

Following Arslan’s conviction in April, the spokesman said: “We have been made aware that questions have been raised about the different authorities’ involvement in this case, and clearly we take this seriously.

“As with all serious cases like these, we will be carrying out a full review of our involvement.”

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