Court told former soldier killed after 'sharing a moment' with Bovingdon man's girlfriend (From Watford Observer)
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Court told former soldier Mark Hopkinson was killed after 'sharing a moment' with Bovingdon man Mark Fagence's girlfriend
A former soldier was killed after "hitting on" another man's girlfriend during a drinking session, a jury was told today.
Mark Hopkinson, 36, had angered Mark Fagence, 50, after he had "shared a moment" with Jane Kane at her home in Borehamwood.
When police arrived at the house in Theobold Street, they found 14 stone Fagence, of Apple Cottages, Bovingdon, lying on top of Mr Hopkinson in a darkened room with the television blaring.
Prosecutor Ann Evans told St Albans Crown Court that Mr Hopkinson was unconscious, blue in the face and did not have a pulse. He did not respond when he was "shocked" to try to get his heart started and he was pronounced dead an hour later in hospital.
She told the jury of five men and seven women that Fagence was guilty of the manslaughter of Mr Hopkinson because: "He held him forcibly on the floor after a senseless argument about drink and finding him asleep on Jane's bed. That forcible hold caused Mark Hopkinson's death."
Opening the case she said: "This is a sad story about alcohol abuse. The three main people you will be concerned about during the course of this trial are all addicted to alcohol."
Two months before Mr Hopkinson died Ms Kane, who is in her 40s, met Fagence at Watford General Hospital and they began a relationship. Ms Kane's daughter Beth said her mother started drinking heavily in September 2011 and suffered depression as well.
"Unsurprisingly, Beth didn't think Mark (Fagence) was a good influence on her mother. Her mother obviously realised this and told Beth that she didn't want to speak to her for a while.
"Beth last heard from her mother on November 5 when she went to see her and Mark was there again.
"In no uncertain terms she told the pair that they needed help with their drinking. She left them to it.
"This gives you the flavour of the relationship between Jane Kane and Mark Fagence, him coming round to her house in Borehamwood and them drinking together indoors," said the prosecutor.
The jury heard Hopkinson was not a well man and had mental health problems going back to 2001 and shortly afterwards suffered alcohol addiction as well. After leaving the army he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder. He hadn't been able to work for a number of years and had tried detox programmes.
He also met Fagence in Watford General Hospital where they were both being treated for alcohol abuse. On November 6 Hopkinson was discharged from hospital. CCTV showed him withdrawing £100 from a cash point and buying a litre of vodka, two bottles of wine and cigarettes.
The men went shopping at Sports Direct in Borehamwood in the afternoon before going to Jane Kane's address.
The prosecutor went on: "What happened next is not entirely clear. But it seems all three were drinking. What did happen, and what Jane admits happened in the next few hours, is that she had some form of sexual encounter with Mark Hopkinson.
"At some point Mark Fagence found Mr Hopkinson asleep on the end of Jane's bed and shortly after this he told him to go."
Mark Hopkinson left the house and bought more alcohol before returning by taxi to Jane Kane's home. The prosecutor said Ms Kane admitted there was some attraction between her and Mr Hopkinson.
"They had really hit it off and had sat on the floor chatting whilst Mark Fagence got drunk in the corner. She then decided she should go and lie down upstairs on her bed - which she did fully clothed.
"She woke up to find Mark Hopkinson at the end of her bed. The attraction between the pair was such that they ended up attempting to have sex, whilst apparently Mark Fagence slept, unaware downstairs.
"A short while later the pair heard Mark Fagence shouting: "What are you two doing?" He accused Mark Hopkinson of 'hitting on his woman'."
Later she came downstairs to find the pair fighting. Fagence told her to call an ambulance. Ms Kane made a 17 minute emergency call. She later told police that the two men were fighting and that she had "a bit of a moment" with Hopkinson.
PC Katie Ball said when she arrived she saw Kane on the doorstep with a phone in her hand. "I knew she has a problem with alcohol. She was highly intoxicated. She was dishevelled. She was slurring her words. I could smell alcohol. She was crying and not making a lot of sense."
She said at first she struggled to get into the house as a sofa was across the doorway. She said the lights were off, the TV blaring and she could see a large man lying on the floor to the right of the bay window.
She shouted to him to wake up but got no response. When she got over to him she said: "I placed my hands on his shoulder to get some kind or reaction. Then I noticed another man on the floor. I said get off him."
Fagence was alleged to have told the police: "He got aggressive and I restrained him. I put my weight on him. I'm 14 stone."
When arrested he said: "You nicked me for nothing. I was just holding someone down who self harms himself."
Fagence denies manslaughter.