Boston man jailed for murder after using knuckle duster in 'vicious' attack on father-of-two Darren Birks

Newark appeared at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday 11 September Credit: Lincolnshire Police

A 22-year-old man who punched his victim with a knuckle duster during a sustained assault has been jailed for life for his murder.

Cole Newark, of Witham Bank West, Boston, appeared at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday 11 September, where he was also found guilty of possession of the offensive weapon which was used during the attack.

The court heard how Newark attacked 40-year-old Darren Birks with the weapon on Ingram Road in Boston on the evening of 29 April last year, leaving him with severe injuries.

The swelling to Mr Birks’ face and head was so severe that he was placed in an induced coma in hospital. He died just under a week later on 9 May.

Darren Birks died on 9 May 2019 after being attacked by Cole Newark Credit: Lincolnshire Police

The judge told Newark he must serve at least 20 years before he could be considered for release.

CCTV obtained during the investigation shows the attack happened soon after Mr Birks rode past Newark who was outside the Premier shop in Shaw Road, Boston.

Police arrested Newark on 1 May, when he was initially charged with GBH. This indictment then changed to murder following Mr Birks’ death. Newark entered a not guilty plea to murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Following the sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Karl Whiffen said:

This case has highlighted the absolute danger associated with carrying a weapon and the ultimate penalty that can be paid if one is used, I just wish we were able to bring this issue to the spotlight in a way that didn’t have such tragic consequences for so many people.  

Detective Chief Inspector Karl Whiffen, Lincolnshire Police

He added; “On the evening of the 29th April 2019 Cole Newark was stood outside the Premier stores on Shaw Road when Darren Birks rode past him on a bicycle and headed down Ingram Road.

“On seeing Darren, Newark armed himself with a knuckle duster, chased and caught up with him. He then subjected Darren to a brutal assault using the knuckle duster. The attack lasted less than 60 seconds, but within that time Darren sustained five skull fractures, spinal fractures, Facial fractures, and multiple bleeds to the brain.

“I have been a detective for many years and a homicide SIO across the East Midlands for the last three and a half years. I can say without doubt that these are some of the worst assault injuries, inflicted on a person, in a public place that I’ve seen. Darren was savagely beaten."

The family of Darren Birks released this following statement following the sentencing"

We as a family would like to thank everyone that has been involved in bringing us justice. In particular, Keith Roberts, Karl Whiffen, Calley Murray and all their team who we know have worked tirelessly collecting the evidence needed to bring us this verdict. We definitely wouldn’t be where we are now without them.

Family statement

It continues; “It has been an extremely difficult struggle and a long time coming. But with the continued support of family and many friends we have held on to each other and come through this. I truly can’t stress enough how grateful we are to you all, you’ve held us up, and Darren can now rest in peace.

“The attack on Darren was particularly vicious, and no amount of years will fade that from our memories!

“Left in the aftermath of Cole Newark’s actions are myself along with Darren’s sister, brothers and many other relatives and friends. But most of all are Darren’s two beautiful young children who have lost their dad! They need to grow as children should now, without this shadow forever hanging over them! 

“We’d  also like everyone out there to remember that Cole Newark’s actions have affected two families and not ours alone.

“And finally, Please, please, please Do Not Carry a Weapon! If you don’t have it, then you can’t use it!"