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Surrey train stabbing: Darren Pencille found guilty of murder

Published by Josh Kerr at 2:15pm 12th July 2019. (Updated at 2:33pm 12th July 2019)

A man has been found guilty of murdering a Guildford dad on a train in Surrey. 

51-year-old Lee Pomeroy was attacked in front of his son on a service heading from Guildford to London Waterloo in January. 

Pencille, 36, of no fixed address, had denied murdering Mr Pomeroy, saying he acted in self-defence, but has been found guilty by a jury. 

Darren Pencille and IT consultant Lee Pomeroy had been involved in a heated dispute that appeared to have started over a blocked aisle on the train between Guildford and London on 4 January.

It ended with Mr Pomeroy being stabbed to death.

Lee Pomeroy
The court heard how Lee Pomeroy was stabbed 18 times in 25 seconds.

Pencille's partner Chelsea Mitchell, 28, was found guilty of assisting an offender.

Witnesses said they heard both men taunting each other but CCTV of the train carriage had no audio, so it is not known what was said between them.

The court heard that Pencille left the carriage after an exchange, repeatedly asking to be left alone, but was followed by Mr Pomeroy.

Defence lawyers claimed Pencille was blocked at the end of the carriage with no exit route by a much larger man.

Mr Pomeroy's teenage son, who was travelling with him but was in a different carriage during the stabbing, told the court: "My dad is very menacing because he is tall. The guy was taller than me, shorter than my dad.

"Normally when someone says something to my dad he won't let it go."

Train CCTV
The attack followed a row between the two men over a blocked aisle.

Kayleigh Carter, another passenger on the train, had described Mr Pomeroy as being "stern, stubborn and patronising" to Pencille.

One witness, Christopher Fieberg, told the court: "The black gentleman was telling the white gentleman to 'leave me alone'," adding Pencille also said he was "hearing voices".

Pencille's mental health was described by his lawyers as "the elephant in the room" but Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb told the jury that Pencille's mental health "does not help establish a defence of diminished responsibility".

Pencille's mother, Ingrid Robertson, told the court her son had been told in his 20s that he was a paranoid schizophrenic and that he "always thought people were looking at him or wanted to do something to him".

A medical report said Pencille was in hospital a number of times for mental health issues between 2004-2018 and had been prescribed medication for depression, anxiety and psychotic disorders. However, there was no trace of these in his urine after the attack, a toxicologist said.

Pencille phone pics
During the trial the jury were shown more than a dozen pictures of knives that police found on Pencille's iPhone.

The Old Bailey heard that Mr Pomeroy, a day short of his 52nd birthday, was stabbed in the neck and suffered 18 knife wounds during an assault that lasted little more than 25 seconds.

Justin Rouse QC, defending Pencille, described the fast-moving argument and equally swift and frenzied attack as like "a cat with a mouse".

He said: "If Lee Pomeroy had just stopped and walked away, it would have all been over. One of them was enjoying themselves and one was truly frightened."

Pencille jacket
The jury were shown a photo of Pencille’s jacket, taken from the field where it was found.

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