The mother of a murder suspect who stabbed his partner’s ex-boyfriend in a knife frenzy after a row broke out over an iPad was slammed by 24 Hours in Police Custody.
Last night’s episode of the Channel 4 show focused on Robert Parkins, 33, who was jailed for murder after stabbing Alex Fitzpatrick, 30, originally from Cornwall, at least 17 times in St Neots, Cambridgeshire on 13 October 2019.
Detectives explained how on that sunny afternoon, Alex got into a disagreement with his nine-year-old son’s mother, Kelly after dropping him home after swimming.
They added that when Alex refused to give her their son’s glasses until he got an iPad he wanted to upload a programme to, an annoyed Robert stormed out of the semi-detached home with a kitchen knife.
He left Alex bleeding to death on the doorstep after stabbing him through the heart, spinal cord and on the back of the head.
On last night’s programme, Robert’s mother Janet said she was heartbroken that her son had been jailed, telling the camera: ‘It’s not going to be the same without him. Everywhere I turn I see Robert.’
But viewers slammed Janet after she said her son was a ‘lovely’ boy, with one writing: ‘There comes a point surely after you find out that your child stabbed a person 15 times, you have to stop defending them. Right?’
Janet – the mother of murder suspect Robert Parkins – was interviewed in custody on suspicion of concealing the whereabouts of her son on last night’s episode of C4’s 24 hours in police custody
Robert Parkins (pictured), 33, knifed Alex Fitzpatrick, 30, at least 17 times in the neck and chest outside the home of his former partner Kelly Anderson in St Neots, Cambridgeshire
Another wrote: ”That Janet on 24 Hours In Police Custody is absolutely unhinged.
‘Her son murdered someone and she feels hard done by because she won’t see him when she pops to the shop anymore.’
After Robert fled the scene, CCTV revealed that he made his way to his parents’ house and then escaped to London.
Detectives from Cambridgeshire’s Major Crime Unit decided to arrest the parents of the missing man on suspicion of assisting an offender in the hope that they will give away where he is hiding and reveal what lay behind the attack.
Many of those watching the programme were stunned by Janet’s attitude towards her son’s crime
When asked whether Robert lives at her address, a distraught Janet explained: ‘He has been – most of the time when I’ve been very ill. He’s been an absolute rock and that boy is a good boy. He’s a lovely, lovely son – helpful son.’
Meanwhile, in a separate interview room, Robert’s father, Arthur added: ‘All I know is Robert, he’s phoned his mum up in a panic.
‘He’s told her basically the geezer’s tried to push in and he’s hit him with his helmet and he’s lost it and Jan said “where?” He wouldn’t tell us where he was.
Jealous lover, 33, murdered partner’s ex-boyfriend in knife frenzy after row broke out over iPad when he arrived to drop off his son with boy’s mother
September 2019 – Last September, Alex Fitzpatrick, 30, originally from Cornwall, had taken news of Parkins moving in with ex-girlfriend Ms Anderson and his nine-year-old son ‘badly’ and had ‘made his thoughts and feelings clear’
October 2019 – On the afternoon of Sunday October 13, Alex dropped his nine-year-old son home after taking him swimming.
He refused to give Ms Anderson their son’s glasses until he got an iPad he wanted to upload a programme to.
Kelly and Mr Fitzpatrick began arguing near the end of the garden path.
Parkins heard the row and stormed out of the semi-detached home with a kitchen knife and grappled with Mr Fitzpatrick after Kelly retreated indoors with her boy.
As the row raged the next door neighbour glanced out his bedroom window and saw Parkins get Mr Fitzpatrick onto the ground, before stabbing him repeatedly.
Mr Fitzpatrick, from Huntingdon, was wearing his padded biker jacket when he was stabbed through the heart, spinal cord and to the back of the head.
He was heard to shout for his former partner and son as he lay on the ground mortally injured, the court heard.
Mr Fitzpatrick was pronounced dead at the scene despite efforts to save him.
Parkins ran to his sister’s home and called for a lift to a property in Pymmes Brook House, London where he was later arrested by police
August 2020 – Parkins was found guilty by a jury at the Old Bailey today after they deliberated for just over two-and-a-half hours.
The court heard Parkins fled the scene and discarded the knife he had used, after ‘animosity’ had built between himself and Mr Fitzpatrick.
When asked whether she knows why he didn’t want to tell them that information, Janet responded: ‘Well he probably didn’t want to get me too involved. My sister died just yesterday.’
Cameras followed each twist and turn of the operation as police grapple with the hunt to find the missing killer and officers pushed to see how far family loyalties could be stretched before they break.
Eventually, Robert was found hiding at Janet’s sister’s house in London – who was none the wiser about what had previously occurred.
As the line of interviewing continued, Janet said se had received a phone call from her son to say he had been ‘attacked’.
She said: ‘He was in a scared state. So yes, he did get in our vehicle. He was scared, he said, I think I’ve hurt him bad Mum. And I said, well we’ll sort it out in the morning son. We’ll go to the police in the morning.’
She went on to say her son had been living with her, adding: ‘I’ve been very ill, his sisters been very ill. He’s been an absolute rock and that boy is a good boy. He’s a lovely, lovely son.
‘A helpful son. What has happened, I know this is murder – it’s unbelievable. It’s not in his character. I want to see my son. He must be freaked out.
‘If this has happened and it’s murder, it has to be manslaughter or defence or something. He would not go out and hurt anybody, my son. He looks after me, my sister, his dad – he’s just great.’
‘Murder sounds terrible, it’s just terrible.’
And when the detective explained that taking Robert away from the scene is an offence, Janet said: ‘Well I didn’t realise it was such an offence helping your children who are injured, upset and running scared. I didn’t know that was any type of offence.
‘I would feel that any sort of loving mother would protect her children and try to help her children.’
As she was leaving the police station, she and Arthur asked the officers to tell their son they ‘love’ him, adding: ‘We’ll bring him some clothes up.’
Meanwhile Alex’s mother Mary said: ‘I think he could say horrible things, but everyone in the moment does. He was scared that somebody else was going to look after his son.
‘He was worried about Rob because he knew some of his past, he was saying he was unstable. He didn’t want him around his son.
‘For three weeks before he was telling me this guy was bad news and was beside himself with worry really. To see his son was in his situation he couldn’t do anything about.’
She broke down on camera, saying: ‘To find out someone has taken your son’s life for the two seconds he was angry with him for. I miss him all the time. I want to talk to him and ask him some advice and he’s not there.’
Janet explained she saw her son everywhere, adding: ‘It’s like living in my head. I see him when I look out in the garden, I walk round the shop and he’s always coming around the corner.
‘He’s just always there. But no he isn’t.’
The altercation occurred after Alex (pictured) got into a disagreement with his nine-year-old son’s mother, Kelly after dropping him home after swimming
However viewers struggled to feel empathetic towards Arthur and Janet.
One person wrote: ‘This is infuriating. Your son is not gone, you can visit him….in prison. However the man he murdered is gone and his mother and son can never see him again.’
Another commented: ‘I wonder if Janet has spared a thought for Alex’s mum who has lost a son and about Alex’s son who is now without a dad.’
At the time, the court heard Robert Parkins fled the scene and discarded the knife he had used, after ‘animosity’ had built between himself and Alex Fitzpatrick.
After Robert fled the scene, CCTV revealed that he made his way to his parents’ house and then escaped to London (pictured)
In September 2019, the victim had taken news of Robert moving in with Kelly and his then nine-year-old son ‘badly’ and had ‘made his thoughts and feelings clear’, the trial heard.
Following the incident on the afternoon of Sunday October 13, Parkins ran to his sister’s home and called for a lift to a property in Pymmes Brook House, London where he was later arrested by police.
Janet and Arthur Parkins received a caution for assisting an offender.
Parkins was jailed for life in August 2020 and was told he must serve at least 19 years.
Detectives from Cambridgeshire’s Major Crime Unit decide to arrest the parents of the missing man (pictured, father Arthur) in the hope that they will give away where he is hiding and reveal what lay behind the attack
Following the verdict, senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Michael Branston said: ‘This was a brutal, frenzied and sustained attack resulting in the death of a man whose son will now grow up without his father in his life.
‘Our deepest sympathies go out to Alex’s family. I hope today’s verdict will provide them with some assistance as they learn to live with this tragedy.’
Paying tribute to their son, Mary Reading and Dave Fitzpatrick said: ‘Alex was a loving and devoted father, son and brother to his eight siblings.
‘He was always there for us and tried to better himself every day.
‘After hearing the evidence and the injuries Alex sustained, today’s result is such a relief for us all.’
Meanwhile Alex’s mother also broke down on camera, saying she ‘missed him all the time’ and that she ‘wanted to talk to him’