Scott Tarrant murder; The story of the trial
PUBLISHED: 17:00 30 January 2019
Archant © 2018
For more than two weeks, family, friends and jurors gathered at Ipswich Crown Court to hear those involved recount the devastating night when Scott Tarrant was fatally stabbed nine times.
On January 14, prosecutor Peter Gair opened the case, telling jurors 28-year-old Mr Tarrant was stabbed outside his girlfriend Rebecca Supple’s Underwood Close home and died from his injuries.
He said the pair had planned to meet after he watched the England vs Sweden World Cup game, but they fell out when he did not turn up, leading to her invite Steven Butcher round.
After Mr Tarrant arrived and pushed over Butcher’s motorbike, Mr Gair claimed Butcher told Miss Supple he was “going to ******* kill him” before grabbing a kitchen knife, which she then took away.
Butcher left to stand up his bike, before returning and, Mr Gair claimed, picking up the kitchen knife and going outside to stab Mr Tarrant.
On January 15, Kieran Clarke told jurors he called Butcher in the early hours of July 8 and invited him to his Kirkley Run home after he didn’t “sound like himself.”
Mr Clarke tried to calm him down and said that during their conversation Butcher told him: “I think I’ve killed him” and mentioned Mr Tarrant’s name.
Mr Tarrant’s mother Davina Johnson also gave evidence, saying her son and Miss Supple had a “love-hate” relationship and split in 2017 after he found out she went on a trip to Amsterdam with Butcher.
On January 16, witnesses Joshua and Melissa Wilkes described watching the incident unfold from a nearby window.
Mr Wilkes said he saw a man “on his hands and knees hiding behind the bushes,” and went to call police when the pair started “swinging punches.”
By the time Mr Wilkes returned to the window, he said Mr Tarrant was lying on the floor and Butcher was standing over him, before fleeing the scene.
Later that day, jurors also heard from taxi driver Jamie Hart, who collected Butcher from Hollingsworth Road at around 11.35pm that night.
He said: “He told me he had just opened someone up, so I asked if he had anything on him and he told me he had put it down a drain.
“I asked if it was self-defence and he said he’d stabbed him eight times, so I told him he was looking at murder.”
Miss Supple, who had been due to give evidence earlier in the trial but fled to Amsterdam after claiming to have suffered a panic attack, appeared in court on January 17.
She told the court Mr Tarrant had thrown a glass at Butcher in a nightclub and attacked him with knives after the pair slept together following her breakup with Mr Tarrant, the father of one of her children.
She said they were rebuilding their relationship when the attack occurred.
The trial resumed on January 21, with jurors watching bodycam footage from PC Jonathan Cobbold, who carried out an armed enquiry at Butcher’s mother’s house on Ashfield Crescent, where he was found hiding in the loft at 3.55am on July 8.
Jurors also heard from Home Office pathologist Benjamin Swift, who detailed Mr Tarrant’s nine stab wounds and said “severe force” had been used in four stabbings.
After a delay due to Butcher being too unwell to attend court on January 22, jurors heard a transcript of his police interview on January 23.
Butcher was interviewed by DC James Willcox on July 9 and denied being near Underwood Close at the time. He also called Miss Supple a “silly little girl with baggage and children.”
He also detailed how their relationship unfolded, and how he was “petrified” of Mr Tarrant after he found out they had slept together.
He said he followed Mr Tarrant to his Ashley Downs home and confronted him with a plank of wood after being glassed at Faith nightclub in April 2017.
Butcher then said Mr Tarrant produced two knives and held one to his throat and one to his eye, telling him to stay away from Miss Supple.
On January 24, Butcher’s evidence resumed, with the 24-year-old telling jurors he acted in self-defence.
He said: “He lunged at me and I grabbed hold of his wrists and held on firmly because my life depended on it.
“I moved the knife down towards his chest and pushed down. The knife went in but there was no change in him. I don’t think he realised.
“If I didn’t react how I did, he would be here today and I would be the one who was gone.”
The trial resumed on January 28, with Butcher denying telling the court a “pack of lies” while being cross-examined by Mr Gair.
Closing statements were read to the court on January 29, with Mr Gair rejecting the claim Butcher was “petrified” of Mr Tarrant, while defence counsel Andrew Thompson said Butcher did not go out armed with a knife intending to kill Mr Tarrant that night, and there was not an “elaborate or sophisticated cover-up.”
The jury retired to begin considering their verdict at 3.43pm, before returning and being sent home for the night at 4.30pm.
They resumed at 10.26am on January 30 and returned shortly after 2pm to announce their verdict, leaving Butcher crying in the dock.
Judge David Goodin confirmed Butcher will now return to the court on Friday to be sentenced.