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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Gwyn Wright

Golf club greenkeeper murdered after argument about loud music on train back from Arsenal match, court told

Thomas Parker, who died after he was attacked at Reading station (Undated British Transport Police handout)

A golf club greenkeeper was murdered with a metal horseshoe after his brother objected to music being played too loudly on a train, a court heard.

Kirkpatrick Virgo, 42, is accused of murdering 24-year-old Thomas Parker at Reading station on the night of July 30 2022.

Reading Crown Court heard the victim was on the Elizabeth line back from watching an Arsenal game with his brother Craig and two friends before the defendant and two of his friends boarded and one of them played music from a boom box speaker.

The victim’s group had been drinking “to a greater or lesser extent”, jurors were told.

His brother got into an argument with the friend of Virgo who was playing the music, but there was “no violence”, the court heard.

Later Virgo joined in the row and told the victim’s group “do you want to die tonight?”, the hearing was told.

Two off-duty police officers tried to keep the peace, but Virgo was said to be “looking for trouble” by calling Craig Parker the homophobic slur “batty boy”.

The argument looked like it would turn into “actual violence” but the presence of the two police officers ensured things did not get out of hand, the court heard.

The two officers split the groups into different parts of the carriage but the defendant’s grouped moved back towards the victim’s group, which showed they were “intent on carrying on the confrontation”, the jury was told.

An “explosion of violence” in which other passengers may have been caught could have erupted without the presence of the officers, prosecutors said.

One witness claimed Virgo was “psyched up” and had an “air of menace” which left them unnerved.

After the victim’s group got off, Virgo followed and removed a heavy metallic horseshoe from his rucksack, which hit the victim in the head.

Prosecutor Tahir Khan KC told the jury: “We say the defendant was upset about the earlier argument. He was intent on doing some serious damage to one or another of the victim’s group.

Reading Crown Court (Martin Halfpenny/PA)

“The defendant followed after Tom Parker and he bought the heavy weapon down on the back of Tom Parker’s head.

“Tom Parker fell straight to the floor and sadly he did not get back up. He was fatally wounded by a single blade.”

The attack was caught on CCTV which led Virgo to have “no choice” but to admit unlawfully killing Mr Parker.

The defendant tried to run away but was caught by the victim’s brother following a tussle.

A station security guard working for G4S intervened and, once he had worked out what happened, rushed to give the victim CPR as he was bleeding heavily from his brain.

Police arrested Virgo on suspicion of manslaughter and later murder.

Despite the best efforts of emergency services, the victim was pronounced dead at 12.40am on July 31 2022.

Virgo, who sat in the dock wearing a blue tracksuit, showed little visible emotion as the case against him was read out. Members of the Mr Parker’s family were in the public gallery.

The defendant, from Slough, admits manslaughter and possession of an offensive weapon but denies murder.

Mr Khan told jurors Virgo is expected to argue that Mr Parker racially abused and spat at him on the station platform, leading him to act “in the heat of the moment”.

The prosecutor said this is “a lying account”.

The trial in front of Judge Amjad Nawaz continues.

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