Double-killer jailed after murdering receptionist 30 years on from first attack

Mark Masefield
Mark Masefield
16:55pm, Thu 29 Apr 2021
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A violent killer who fatally smashed a school friend over the head with a scaffolding pole in 1987 has been jailed for a minimum of 20 years after stabbing his girlfriend to death during a drunken argument.

Mark Masefield, 53, murdered dental receptionist Marie Gladders with a kitchen knife at his house in Stockland Green, Birmingham, on November 12 last year, before the expiry date of an 11-and-a-half-year manslaughter sentence.

Birmingham Crown Court was told Masefield informed police he had killed the 51-year-old during a row around two to three hours after the attack – telling officers “gingers are always feisty”.

Mark Masefield court case (PA Media)

The court also heard about the defendant’s manslaughter conviction at Warwick Crown Court in 2011, where he admitted administering a fatal scaffolding pole attack on close friend Anthony Pryke before wrapping his body in bed sheets and pushing him head-first into a sewage drain.

Masefield had kept the Chelmsley Wood metal bar attack secret for almost 25 years, until confessing to a friend in 2010, and then police a year later.

Despite many people suspecting Mr Pryke’s brother, David, of the 1987 killing, the defendant, who was 19 at the time, chose “year upon year” to say nothing.

Outlining the facts of the murder case, prosecutor Robert Price said Ms Gladders, from Chelmsley Wood, had complained to friends of Masefield’s previous violent drunken episodes towards her, including a blowtorch being held to her head.

Emergency services were called to his home at around 8.25pm but Ms Gladders, who was described as having a “heart of gold” by her daughter, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Masefield texted his children to say “I won’t see you again,” after the killing, and during his 999 call, he told the operator: “Please send the police round, I stabbed her in the back.”

Sentencing Masefield to life imprisonment, Judge Paul Farrer QC said: “You were controlling and resented her close relationship with the father of her child.

“You armed yourself with a large kitchen knife. You then attacked her and stabbed her four times to her back, chest and neck.

“It is apparent from the nature and ferocity of this attack that you intended to kill her.”

The judge continued: “You left her bleeding on the floor and left her for two to three hours before calling emergency services.

“This was a brutal attack with a knife which was used repeatedly on your victim.

“This attack was both an abuse of power and an abuse of trust.

“This was a culmination of controlling and violent behaviour towards her.”

The judge said Masefiled’s previous conviction of manslaughter was a “significant aggravating factor”.

It is apparent from the nature and ferocity of this attack that you intended to kill her.

He was released on licence in 2017 after serving half of his prison sentence but the probation service said he was no longer on licence after February 2020, despite his sentence expiring in January 2023.

In a victim impact statement read to the court by Mr Price, Ms Gladders’s daughter Mary Ballard spoke of the “complete horror and suffering that my family have endured”.

The statement read: “Mark Masefield didn’t just take one life that night, he destroyed many.

“Nobody will ever understand our pain.

“What he did was inhumane – he made her suffer.”

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