Jury told of brutal killings

An elderly couple at the heart of community life met a horrific end at the hands of their schizophrenic son who stamped them to death before piling furniture on their bodies, a court heard yesterday.

An elderly couple at the heart of community life met a horrific end at the hands of their schizophrenic son who stamped them to death before piling furniture on their bodies, a court heard yesterday.

Norwich Crown Court was told that Terrence Dunkley, 54, of Tottenhill, near King's Lynn, killed his parents Marguerite, 80, and Arthur Dunkley, 83, on June 12 last year at their home in Manor Close in Lyng, near Dereham.

The jury was told that Dunkley, a former teacher, was not fit to stand trial for two counts of murder because of his schizophrenia and that their role was only to determine whether he committed the act he was accused of.

To outsiders, Mr and Mrs Dunkley lived a normal and active life, both were committed members of the King's Lynn Beekeeping Society and the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Dereham, while Mrs Dunkley helped with the local Women's Institute and Conservative Party and worked as a guide at Oxborough Hall.

But behind closed doors the prosecution said the couple had been suffering a catalogue of increasingly violent abuse at the hands of Dunkley since 2003 - which included smashing his mother's head against a wall, pushing her down the stairs, dragging his father across the ground and smashing his mother's precious ornaments she had given him to look after.

Sasha Wass, prosecuting, said the abuse culminated with them being killed by having their head, neck and chest repeatedly stamped on, before tables and chairs were piled on their bodies.

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When police arrived at the home on the evening of June 12, Dunkley came out to greet them in blood-stained clothing and calmly told officers that his parents were dead inside, smiling when their bodies were discovered she said.

Forensic examinations found the blood belonged to Mr and Mrs Dunkley and that it had splattered in such a way that Dunkley must have been close when the blows were struck.

When interviewed by police, Dunkley denied involvement in his parents' death, claiming he had been upstairs in the house and only found his parents' bodies after coming downstairs at 5.15pm and had got blood on his clothes when kneeling to check his father's pulse.

She said: “One of the reasons that the prosecution are confident Terrence Dunkley was responsible for this violent attack is because he had demonstrated hostility towards his parents in the past.”

The police were called on June 12 by Nicholas Dunkley, 44, the family's youngest son, who went to Mr and Mrs Dunkley's home following concerns that Mrs Dunkley had not turned up for voluntary work at Oxborough Hall.

Nicholas Dunkley told the court he had tried to open the kitchen door but that a hand reached up and locked it as he tried the handle and he looked down and saw his brother kneeling on the floor.

Looking into the house he saw ornaments smashed on the floor of the living room and chairs and tables piled on the dining room floor.

He said: “I found the whole thing suspicious, I said: 'Let me in, if you don't I'll call the police', he said: 'Go ahead'.”

Darren Bruton, 30, lived next door to Mr and Mrs Dunkley and described a disturbance he heard coming from a neighbouring property earlier that day, at about 11am before seeing Dunkley kneeling in the dining room of Mr and Mrs Dunkley's home with chairs piled next to him. Dunkley was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the Fermoy Unit in Lynn following an attack on his mother in 2003.

But Mrs Wass told the court that although Mrs Dunkley had confided in her neighbour Georgina Clere, who witnessed an attack, she was too embarrassed to ever press charges.

Dunkley had married a Ukrainian woman, Olga Szuliga, at the age of 23. They moved to Norfolk in the 1980s where they both had teaching jobs, but the couple split up in 2000. Mrs Wass told the court that Miss Szuliga said Dunkley had begun suffering from “strange ideas”, such as cameras spying on him from smoke detectors, soon after moving to Norfolk, but that he had become violent after she challenged these - at one time throwing his wife to the floor and kicking and punching her.

Dunkley was the middle child of three brothers and went to college in London and studied for a teaching qualification at Keele University in Staffordshire and later got a job teaching geography and sport in Surrey before going on to teach in Norfolk.

The trial continues.