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24 hours in police custody: mother of murder suspect interviewed on suspicion of hiding whereabouts

The mother of a murder suspect who stabbed his partner’s ex-boyfriend in a knife frenzy after an argument broke out over an iPad, insists her son is a ‘sweet’ boy as she is interviewed on suspicion of hiding of his whereabouts during 24 Hours in Police Custody.

Tonight’s episode of the Channel 4 show focuses on Robert Parkins, 33, who was jailed for murder after stabbing Alex Fitzpatrick, 30, originally from Cornwall, at least 17 times in St Neots, Cambridgeshire on October 13, 2019.

Detectives explain how Alex got into an altercation with the mother of his nine-year-old son, Kelly, that sunny afternoon after dropping him off at home after swimming.

They add that when Alex refused to give her their son’s glasses until he had an iPad to upload a program to, an annoyed Robert stormed out of the semi-detached house with a kitchen knife.

He bled Alex to death on the sidewalk after stabbing him through the heart, spinal cord, and the back of the head.

Janet - the mother of murder suspect Robert Parkins - is interviewed in custody on suspicion of hiding her son's whereabouts in tonight's episode of C4's 24 Hours in Police Detention

Janet – the mother of murder suspect Robert Parkins – is interviewed in custody on suspicion of hiding her son’s whereabouts in tonight’s episode of C4’s 24 Hours in Police Detention

Robert Parkins (pictured), 33, stabbed Alex Fitzpatrick, 30, in the neck and chest at least 17 times outside his former partner Kelly Anderson's home in St Neots, Cambridgeshire

Robert Parkins (pictured), 33, stabbed Alex Fitzpatrick, 30, in the neck and chest at least 17 times outside his former partner Kelly Anderson's home in St Neots, Cambridgeshire

Robert Parkins (pictured), 33, stabbed Alex Fitzpatrick, 30, in the neck and chest at least 17 times outside his former partner Kelly Anderson’s home in St Neots, Cambridgeshire

After Robert fled the crime scene, CCTV reveals that he went to his parents’ house and then escaped to London.

Detectives from the Cambridgeshire Major Crime Unit decide to arrest the missing man’s parents on suspicion of aiding an assailant, hoping they will reveal where he is hiding and what was behind the attack.

When asked if Robert lives at her address, a distraught Janet says, “He’s — usually when I’ve been very ill. He’s been an absolute rock and that boy is a good boy. He is a sweet, sweet son – helpful son.’

Meanwhile, in a separate interrogation room, Robert’s father, Arthur, adds, “All I know is Robert, he called his mother in a panic.

“He told her that the guy actually tried to push in and hit him with his helmet and he lost it and Jan said ‘where?’ He wouldn’t tell us where he was.

The altercation took place after Alex (pictured) got into a fight with the mother of his nine-year-old son, Kelly, after dropping him off at home after swimming

The altercation took place after Alex (pictured) got into a fight with the mother of his nine-year-old son, Kelly, after dropping him off at home after swimming

The altercation took place after Alex (pictured) got into a fight with the mother of his nine-year-old son, Kelly, after dropping him off at home after swimming

After Robert flees the crime scene, CCTV reveals he went to his parents' house and then escaped to London (pictured)

After Robert flees the crime scene, CCTV reveals he went to his parents' house and then escaped to London (pictured)

After Robert flees the crime scene, CCTV reveals he went to his parents’ house and then escaped to London (pictured)

When asked if she knows why he wouldn’t tell them that information, Janet replies, “Well, he probably didn’t want to get me involved too much. My sister passed away yesterday.’

Cameras track every twist and turn of the operation as the police struggle to find the missing killer and cops push to see how far family loyalty can be stretched before they break.

In the end, Robert is hidden in Janet’s sister’s London house – who is none the wiser about what had happened before.

As the line of interviewing continues, Janet says, “What happened, I know this is murder – it’s unbelievable. It’s not in his character. I want to see my son. He must have been shocked.

“If this happened and it’s murder, then it must be manslaughter or defense or something. He wouldn’t go out and hurt anyone, my son. He’s just great.’

Detectives from the Cambridgeshire Major Crime Unit decide to arrest the missing man's parents (pictured, Father Arthur) in the hopes that they will reveal where he is hiding and reveal what was behind the attack

Detectives from the Cambridgeshire Major Crime Unit decide to arrest the missing man's parents (pictured, Father Arthur) in the hopes that they will reveal where he is hiding and reveal what was behind the attack

Detectives from the Cambridgeshire Major Crime Unit decide to arrest the missing man’s parents (pictured, Father Arthur) in the hopes that they will reveal where he is hiding and reveal what was behind the attack

Forensic officers analyze victim Alex Fitzpatrick's clothing (pictured)

Forensic officers analyze victim Alex Fitzpatrick's clothing (pictured)

Forensic officers analyze victim Alex Fitzpatrick’s clothing (pictured)

And when the detective explains that it’s an offense to take Robert away, Janet says, ‘Well, I didn’t realize it was such an offense to help your children who are hurt, upset and scared. I didn’t know that was a crime.

I would feel that any kind of loving mother would protect her children and try to help her children.”

At the time, the court heard that Robert Parkins fled the scene and discarded the knife he had used, after “hostility” developed between him and Alex Fitzpatrick.

In September 2019, the victim had learned the news that Robert was moving in with Kelly and his then nine-year-old son “badly” and “made his thoughts and feelings clear,” the trial heard.

DSI Mike Branston (pictured) informs the Major Crime Unit about the murder

DSI Mike Branston (pictured) informs the Major Crime Unit about the murder

DSI Mike Branston (pictured) informs the Major Crime Unit about the murder

Following the incident on Sunday afternoon 13 October Parkins ran to his sister’s house and called for a lift to a property in London’s Pymmes Brook House, where he was later arrested by police.

Janet and Arthur Parkins have been charged with assisting a perpetrator and await trial.

Parkins was given a life sentence in August 2020 and was told he must serve at least 19 years.

After the verdict, lead investigator Detective Michael Branston said: ‘This was a brutal, insane and sustained attack that resulted in the death of a man whose son will now grow up without his father in his life.

“Our deepest condolences go out to Alex’s family. I hope today’s verdict will give them some support in learning to live with this tragedy.”

In tribute to their son, 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 improve himself every day.

“After hearing the evidence and the injuries Alex suffered, today’s result is such a relief to all of us.”

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