A train passenger was killed in an “unrelenting” knife attack in front of his 14-year-old son after a row over blocking an aisle, a court has heard.
Lee Pomeroy, 51, was stabbed 18 times, including once to the neck, by 36-year-old Darren Pencille five minutes after boarding a London-bound train at Guildford, Surrey, the Old Bailey was told.
Afterwards, Pencille’s girlfriend, Chelsea Mitchell, 27, allegedly picked him up and bought hair clippers and razors for him to change his appearance.
Opening their trial, Jake Hallam QC said Mr Pomeroy was killed the day before he was due to celebrate his 52nd birthday.
At 1.01pm on Friday January 4, Mr Pomeroy and his son boarded a train at London Road station in Guildford bound for London Waterloo.
Mr Hallam told the jury: “He did not leave it alive. Within five minutes of boarding that train, Lee Pomeroy had been stabbed in the neck by the first defendant, Darren Pencille.
“It was the first of 18 knife wounds that he inflicted upon him.
“A little over an hour after he boarded the train, and despite the best efforts of the emergency services who rushed to save his life, Lee Pomeroy was dead.”
The prosecutor told jurors the events surrounding the incident were captured on CCTV and witnessed by other passengers.
The Pomeroys had got into the same carriage as Pencille and made their way down the aisle, the court heard.
Mr Hallam suggested that the father and son may have been “blocking” Pencille’s way, prompting the snide response: “Ignorance is bliss.”
Pencille allegedly made the comment twice before Mr Pomeroy asked what he meant.
It led to a heated row which was “fast-moving, unexpected and tragic”, Mr Hallam said.
According to one passenger, Pencille was the aggressor.
He allegedly swore at Mr Pomeroy in front of his teenage son, calling him a “pussy”.
Pencille allegedly shouted: “You touch me, you touch me and you see what happens at the next stop.”
Mr Pomeroy was said to have demanded an apology, saying: “You should not have humiliated me in front of my kid.”
Pencille allegedly called Mr Pomeroy racist, even though he had not said anything racist.
Mr Pomeroy taunted him back, saying: “I’ve never dealt with someone with special needs before.”
He went on: “Listen, right. I dare you, I dare you. I dare you. Put your hand on me.
“Put your hand on me, ‘cos it won’t end nicely. Put your hand on me!”
As Mr Pomeroy remonstrated, Pencille swung the knife and plunged it into his neck, cutting through the jugular vein, jurors were told.
Mr Hallam said: “Eyewitnesses saw what they thought was the two men trading punches. They were half right.
“They saw Lee Pomeroy punching the first defendant, defending himself, having been stabbed in the neck by him.
“But the first defendant wasn’t punching back, he was stabbing. Again, and again, and again.
“The 18 knife wounds found to Lee Pomeroy’s body when it was examined in a post-mortem provided the dreadful proof of the savagery of the first defendant’s unrelenting assault upon him – with a wound to his neck, eight to his torso, and others to his arm, his hands and his thigh, all inflicted in a matter of seconds in the same sustained attack.”
Pencille, of no fixed address, denies murder, and Mitchell, of Farnham, Surrey, pleads not guilty to assisting an offender.