Man guilty of murdering his father

A law student will spend at least 16 years in jail murdering his father and hiding his body in the garden of his Buckinghamshire home.

Mark Alexander, 22, from Fleet Street, London, killed his father Samuel after suffering under "the weight of his expectations'', the trial at Reading Crown Court heard.

Today he's been handed a life sentence, with a minimum term in prison of 16 years.

70 year-old Samuel Alexander was a former university lecturer, who was highly ambitious for his son and disapproved of him having a girlfriend.

His body had been placed in plastic bags submerged in concrete in the garden of the family home in the small village of Drayton Parslow, near Milton Keynes.

The remains of Egyptian-born Mr Alexander were found by police searching the property in February this year, days after he was reported missing by neighbours who told police they hadn’t seen the retired lecturer for months, despite receiving cards from him at Christmas.

They had seen his son occasionally at the house but when asked he told them his father was away, which seemed out of character. They also reported seeing Mark Alexander taking delivery of a batch of ready mixed concrete.

A missing person enquiry was launched on 4 February and Mark Alexander was arrested on suspicion of murder the next day.

It is thought Samuel Alexander had been killed as long ago as last August.

Detective Chief Inspector Joe Kidman, who led the investigation, said:

"This investigation arose out of the concerns of a close community who confided their concerns to their local neighbourhood team, which led to a prompt and robust response by local officers and detectives.

"A murder investigation with a person in custody, where no body has been found, carried out as part of a missing person enquiry, is very intense and demanding. The investigation team showed great tenacity and professionalism in reconstructing the lives of both the deceased victim, Samuel Alexander, and his son Mark. Those at the scene, including scenes of crime officers, had to endure exceptionally difficult conditions to secure evidence from the grave and recover the body."

After sentencing, DCI Kidman added:

“Mark Alexander grew up under difficult and unusual circumstances. However that has to be balanced with the fact that he killed his 70-year-old father. Not only did he deny Samuel Alexander’s right to proper burial, but he deliberately tried to deceive neighbours and officers investigating his father’s disappearance and murder.”

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said:

“Mark Alexander has been convicted of murdering his father, Samuel Alexander, between 20 August 2009 and 10 February 2010. He burnt the body and then subsequently disposed of the body parts in the garden of the family home, under concrete. Subsequently, Mark has consistently denied any knowledge of his father’s disappearance; has lied to neighbours about his father’s whereabouts and, the Crown claims, has repeatedly lied under oath as to his participation in his father’s death.

"!This was a truly gruesome end for Mr Alexander senior. The CPS and police worked closely together in what was a complex and unusual case of patricide, or the act of killing one’s father, with strong circumstantial evidence backed up by forensic material. The sentence of the court reflects the seriousness and callousness of this defendant’s behaviour”.

The judge commended neighbours for noticing that there was a problem and for taking their concerns regarding Mr Alexander to the police. He also commended Thames Valley Police for its careful investigation, in particular the interviewing officers.