'He watched his dad die': Police officer recalls horrific stabbing
- Credit: Cambs Police/ Google Earth
A Cambridgeshire police officer has spoken about the horrific night a man was stabbed to death 15 times in St Neots as his young son “watched his dad die in the street”.
Sergeant Amanda Rossiter was one of the first on the scene in October 2019 when 30-year-old Alex Fitzpatrick was tragically attacked in front of loved ones in Prince Close.
Mr Fitzpatrick was stabbed 15 times in his heart, lungs and back by his ex-girlfriend's new partner Robert Parkins.
An argument escalated when Mr Fitzpatrick arrived at the house to drop off some glasses for his son, and shortly after Parkins came out holding a kitchen knife.
The pair began fighting for a few minutes before Parkins, of Eaton Socon, ran away leaving Mr Fitzpatrick lying on the floor. Sadly, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Parkins was found guilty, by a unanimous verdict, at the Old Bailey in August last year. He was sentenced to 19 years in prison.
Sergeant Rossiter shared her experience of attending the incident that fateful night as part of Cambridgeshire police’s new podcast series.
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Had a knife not been involved, she feels it would have been a different outcome.
“When I arrived the victim was laying on the floor surrounded by medics, so I knew it was serious,” Sergeant Rossiter said.
“It was general chaos. You could not work out who was who or who was involved. There was a lot of bewildered people standing around with their mouths open.
“It was horrific because there were children there, and they were the victim’s children, and they had watched it all happen and not only seen him be attacked but they had watched their dad die in the street.”
Parkins fled the scene, ran to his sister’s home and called for a lift to London, where he was later arrested by police.
“There was an urgency to find the suspect,” Sergeant Rossiter continued.
“You think ‘was he dumping blood-stained clothes or getting rid of the weapon?’
“If he had not got a knife on him and it had been a punch up, would we be looking at the same result? I don’t think so.
“There is a massive difference over what you can do with your fists or what you can do with a knife.
“The most common one we come across is a standard kitchen knife.
“If you carry a knife then you are more likely to get hurt by a knife.”
Speaking last year, paying tribute to their son, parents 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.”
Senior investigating officer, Detective Superintendent Michael Branston, described the incident as 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”.
Cambridgeshire police say that while it is important to remember that knife crimes in the county are rare, they are doing all they can by “investing time and effort to make sure communities are safer and that people are protected”.
Sergeant Rossiter added: “We would not leave the building now to go to an incident without any body armour and I carry a taser.
“It is a real threat and there are people who are out there who want to hurt us [the police].”
Visit the force’s website to find out what they’re doing to tackle knife crime, or to report someone you know who carries a weapon at: https://bit.ly/2Xh7AO7
‘Cambs Cops: Our Stories’ is the force’s first true crime podcast series, providing an insight into policing in Cambridgeshire.
Find out more and listen to episodes so far at: https://www.cambs.police.uk/information-and-services/Podcasts/Cambs-Cops-Our-Stories