Ex-partner walked 28 miles before stabbing mother and autistic son in front of baby, court told

A violent ex-partner travelled 28 miles on foot to stab a mother and her young autistic son to death in front of a distressed baby before leading police on a 24-hour manhunt, a court was told.

Daniel Boulton, 30, is alleged to have knifed his former girlfriend Bethany Vincent and her nine-year-old son Darren Henson, also known as DJ, “numerous times” while the subject of a restraining order at around 8pm on May 31 last year.

Boulton (pictured) developed a “hatred” for Darren and walked from his address in Skegness to Ms Vincent’s home in High Holme Road in Louth, Lincolnshire, where he “loitered for hours”, Lincoln Crown Court was told.

A nine-month-old child was seen crawling around the house when emergency services arrived at the property, the court heard, with the defendant later leaving a note saying: “I, Daniel Boulton, take full responsibility for 182.”

The relationship between Boulton and Ms Vincent, which had begun on the Tinder dating app, had “deteriorated” by the end of March 2019 and he was eventually ordered not to contact his ex-partner, jurors were told.

The prosecution said “persistent” Boulton had sent Ms Vincent nearly 900 messages over the Bank Holiday weekend, including one which said: “You destroyed my life and have the cheek to say I ruined yours.”

Boulton led Lincolnshire Police on a manhunt until the following day, when he allegedly stabbed an off-duty police officer in the leg in the Hubbard’s Hills area of Louth before being Tasered and arrested on a nearby farm.

Prosecutors said there was “no dispute” Boulton stabbed both victims, with him denying the alleged offences because his ability to exercise self-control had been “impaired”.

Opening the case against Boulton on Thursday, prosecutor Katherine Goddard QC said: “At around 8pm on the evening of May 31 last year, a young woman and her nine-year-old son were brutally stabbed to death in their own home in Louth.

“There is no dispute that the person who stabbed both victims was this defendant, Daniel Boulton.

“Mr Boulton’s case will be that, although he physically carried out the stabbings of the two victims, he was, at the time, suffering from a recognised mental condition which substantially impaired his ability to form a rational judgement and exercise self-control.”

Addressing the history between Boulton and Ms Vincent, Ms Goddard said: “The relationship between Bethany and the defendant began in about March 2019 and, like most relationships, at the start everything was good. Everybody appeared happy.

“But, by the end of that year, it had deteriorated and was marked by, the prosecution say, increasing violence from Mr Boulton towards Bethany and, later, towards her parents.

“Bethany made a complaint to the police about Mr Boulton and the violence and behaviour towards her, and Mr Boulton was made the subject of a restraining order precluding him from contacting her.

“A further restraining order was made after yet another incident in February 2021 but, despite both those orders, Mr Boulton continued to contact Bethany – by telephone, by text message, by social media messages, and by unannounced and uninvited visits to her home.

“None of that contact was sought by Bethany and, in fact, only a few days after her and DJ were stabbed to death, they were due to move to a new house – to an address unknown to Mr Boulton.”

Ms Goddard continued: “Social services became involved with Bethany and her family after her first complaint to the police of domestic violence in November 2020.

“Their concerns related only to the risk Mr Boulton presented to the family.

“He had, by then, expressed a hatred of DJ, a nine-year-old boy… who had been diagnosed with autism.”

“He was seen running from an alleyway leading to the back of number 182.

“He seemed flushed, agitated, and called out to the witnesses to call an ambulance as someone had been stabbed inside.

“He then casually walked away, not waiting for the emergency services to arrive.”

Explaining what emergency services saw when they entered the house, Ms Goddard said: “In the downstairs front room, they found Bethany lying on her side, half curled into a ball, clearly already dead.

“Upstairs, they found DJ, lying on his side alongside his bed, also clearly dead.

“Both appeared to have been stabbed numerous times and, in addition to obvious stab wounds, they had marks consistent with blunt force trauma – being hit by something.”

Ms Goddard said a nine-month-old child had also been found at the property, “untouched and unharmed but clearly distressed and crawling through the house.”

She continued: “The police investigation began and it did not take long for Mr Boulton to be identified as a suspect in the killings, and efforts were made to trace him.

“Mr Boulton forced entry to an empty cottage where he stole some items of clothing and food.

“He also scrawled on a piece of paper a note, saying ‘I, Daniel Boulton, take full responsibility for 182’.”

Addressing the circumstances of the alleged stabbing of an off-duty police officer, Ms Goddard said: “On the morning of June 1, an off-duty police officer, Pc Dennis, was walking his dogs close to the bungalow that Mr Boulton had broken into the night before.”

Ms Goddard said the officer became concerned for the safety of another dog walker because he was aware Boulton was wanted by police and “knew of the circumstances of the killings”.

The prosecutor continued: “There was a short confrontation, (with) blows being exchanged between the two men. Mr Boulton ran off, pursued by Pc Dennis, and during a second confrontation Mr Boulton pulled out a knife and stabbed Pc Dennis in the leg.

“Once again, Mr Boulton ran off, but Pc Dennis had managed to contact his police colleagues and soon the area was flooded with police.”

Concluding her opening, Ms Goddard told the jury: “Mr Boulton was perfectly capable of acting rationally and perfectly capable of exercising self-control.

“In the days and weeks prior to that Bank Holiday weekend, he had expressed his intention to ‘stab them all’.

“With some determination he made his way to Louth on foot, with some persistence he loitered around Louth for hours on that Bank Holiday Monday, waiting for Bethany and DJ to arrive home, and once inside, he was able to ensure there were no living witnesses to what he did.

“He was, the prosecution submit, a man who was had planned his actions, was fully in control of them, and should therefore, be held fully responsible and accountable for them.”

Boulton, of Alexandra Road, Skegness, denies murdering Ms Vincent and her son, assault with intent to resist arrest, and burglary.

The trial continues.

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