“IM A FUCKING MURDERER, ARNT I?” – MARK HOBSON
William Brace was walking through Selby town centre in March 2002 when, across the road, he spotted his ex-girlfriend with his supposed friend. William was not too happy with this due to some “bro code” William’s friend was Mark Hobson.
William decided to confront Mark, and as he got close to Mark, he felt a massive pain in his stomach. William’s initial thought was Mark had punched him, but then he saw the blood, and it was clear that Mark had stabbed William. Mark proceeded to stab his one-time mate five times in broad daylight with a box cutter knife he had secreted from his place of work in a factory. The incident happened in broad daylight in front of dozens of shocked shoppers in the North Yorkshire market town. William lay bleeding in the street, and Mark appeared to enjoy watching William bleed to death. Despite a punctured lung and the loss of a significant amount of blood William survived. Mark confessed to wounding with contempt to cause grievous bodily harm but, claimed he acted in self-defence. The court found that Mark was no risk to the public and as he had pled guilty they sentenced Mark to just 100 hours community service and two years probation. Mark was a free man despite what could be argued was attempted murder, and all he got was effectively a slap on the wrist. William and his family were very disappointed and thought that a custodial sentence would have been a certainty. The leniency of the court would have tragic consequences.
In this edition of the blog I bring to you Mark Hobson, bin man turned spree killer and, at a time Britain’s most wanted man. Mark Committed four horrific murders the details of which I will go into a fair amount of detail. As you will come to see if you are a regular reader of my blog, I believe that the details of what was the last moments of a person’s life are essential. Also, the details of the violence used by a perpetrator on their victim or victims tell us a lot about the offender and go along to understanding what punishment is given by the criminal justice system. I appreciate not everyone wants all the gory details but, they are essential in most cases of murder and I just do not agree with a sugar-coated gloss on arguably is the worst thing one person can do to another. The subject is murder so expect violence, expect strong language and expect distressing content. This is a real crime, not the Disney channel.
In many cases of multiple murder we here about how tragic the offenders upbringing was with tales of various kinds of abuse but, in Mark’s case this is not true, in the act, Mark’s early years are pretty unremarkable.
Mark Hobson was born 2nd September 1969 at Marygates maternity hospital in Wakefield, Yorkshire to Peter and Sandra Hobson. Along with his two sisters Mark lived in Wakefield until 1982 when the Hobson Family moved to Selby following the closure of Peter’s place of work at the Park hill colliery in Wakefield. After moving to Selby Peter was able to find work in a q coalmine while Sandra Hobson worked as a machinist. Mark attended Stayher High School in Selby and was described by one of his teachers as average.
Mark had an on/off relationship with his childhood sweetheart Kay, but finally, they got together a few years after school and Mark moved into Kay’s house where she lived with her two children Emma and Bobby which Kay had from her previous marriage. Mark and Kay married at a registry office in 1993 and Mark legally adopted Kay’s children and the couple also had a daughter of their own called Alice. Mark was working as a landscape gardener, and Kay described Mark as the perfect husband and father. But, a change of career would change that.
Mark decided to embark on a new career as a nightclub bouncer after joining a local agency Mark took a job working at the Kans nightclub in Selby. As a strange coincidence around the corner in a different nightclub, there was a bouncer who will appear in a future edition of this blog. That bouncer’s name was David Bieber (no relation to Justin) this is a mere coincidence, and there is nothing to suggest Mark and David were acquainted in any way.
On a New Year’s Eve night out Mark told Kay that he didn’t want to be with her anymore, although there was no one else in the picture Mark decided that the married family life wasn’t for him anymore and he left. Mark and Kay tried on several occasions to reconcile but Mark had now begun to drink heavily, and things just weren’t the same as before. Most likely as a result of the vast amounts of alcohol Mark was consuming Mark became volatile and would often lose his temper with his children which he would never do before. Eventually, in December 2001 Kay had enough and decided to end the relationship once and for all and Kicked Mark out of the house.
Mark still visited his former home to see his children but was often drunk when he did so, and his Family would witness his violent temper flare up without warning. On one occasion Mark’s stepdaughter bought her boyfriend home with her which Mark did not like one bit. Whether he knew the young man or not isn’t clear, but Mark certainly didn’t like him and made his feelings clear. An argument ensued which spelt out into the street where Mark punched the next door neighbours window through. Mark would often accuse his family of stealing alcohol from him and on a different occasion had his stepdaughter by the throat when he was sure she took his last can of beer from the fridge. In reality, Mark had already drunk it.
Mark was nothing like how he used to be and was firmly in the grips of alcohol addiction which would cause his temper to flare up on a regular basis. Mark’s biological Daughter Alice decided that she didn’t want to see her Dad any more because of his drinking and the subsequent aggressive behaviour.
Five months after the stabbing of his former friend William, Mark stole his sisters 18ct gold wedding ring and 9ct engagement ring pawning them at jewellers for £25. Mark spent the money on booze. When she discovered the rings were missing Mark’s sister called the police. Mark was charged and appeared at magistrates court where he said that he planned to repurchase the items when he got a job. Mark admitted theft and was subjected to a 50-hour community service order, ordered to pay the jeweller back £25 and £50 in costs. The rings were returned to Mark’s sister.
Mark met a new girlfriend Called Claire Sanderson who he met through a mutual friend. Claire also had a problem with alcohol addiction, and the couple would spend the majority of their time drinking. The relationship, as a result, was volatile with the couple often seen drunk in public fighting each other which would frequently descend into physical violence against one another. At the time Mark and Claire were living in a flat above a pub which they barred from following a particularly violent fight where Claire hit Mark over the head with a pool cue and bit him on the forehead. On a different occasion, Mark pushed Claire down some stairs. Mark’s affectionate pet name for his lady love was 8 ball, giving reference to the amount of black and blue bruises that Claire had from the man she was head over heels in love with. Mark and Claire moved to a new home in Selby, but a change of address did little to change either of them with new neighbours witnessing numerous fights followed by periods as if the fight had never happened.
Numerous people tried to persuade Claire to leave Mark, but she loved him despite the drunken fights. It was even noted in some reports that when sober the couple were actually amiable and seemed very much in love. Despite Claire’s problems with alcohol, she had a close relationship with her mum and Dad and especially with her twin sister Diane.
Mark knew Diane to and on one occasion told a work colleague where he worked as a refuse collector that he had chosen the wrong twin
On the 10th of July 2004, Mark and Claire were out in their local pub drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and left the pub in a state of inebriation at around half 7 that evening. The couple were witnessed returning to their home, and this was the last time anyone would ever see Claire alive again.
Back at Home Clair was led down on the sofa which was on the ground floor of the house when Mark attacked Claire. Mark struck an unsuspecting Claire seventeen times in the head with a hammer in an explosion of rage. When Mark was convinced Claire was dead, he dragged her corpse upstairs and shared a bath with his deceased partner. After he had cleaned Claire, he would continue to talk to Claire’s dead body as if she was still alive. Mark then returned to the pub where he read a book before returning back home. Over the next week, Mark would stay in the house with Claire’s body where he continued to talk to the now decomposing body. Mark was not finished killing, he had a plan, in fact, he wrote down his plan, and next up was Claire’s twin sister Diane.
Mark Called Diane from Claire’s phone and told Diane that Claire was ill in bed and wanted Diane to come round to see her. The bait was set, and Diane took it, of course, she did, Diane had no reason to suspect anything was amiss.
Once Diane was in the property she saw the blood and then the body of her twin sister just as she turned to run out of the property Mark attacked her with the hammer striking Diane in the head but, this time Mark was going to take his time after all this was the sister he should have chosen. Mark was going to enjoy this as he had spent the past week fantasising about and telling his “white China Doll” which is how Mark described the dead body of Claire Sanderson all about his devious plan to lure Diane to his home and then use and abuse at will.
Mark stayed true to his word and subjected Diane to a horrific ordeal in which he cut her all over her body with a shaving razor, he burned her pubic hair and sexually abused his terrified hostage over a period of hours. The most sickening and depraved part of this prolonged torture was when Mark bit down on Diane’s nipple and tore it off from Diane’s breast. The pain would have been unbearable, and Diane would have felt every second of her demise. When Mark was finished using and abusing his victim, he put a plastic bag over Diane’s bloody, battered head. Due to the number of inquiries, Diane received it was impossible to determine a cause of death. It could have been the blunt force trauma or asphyxiation from the bag over her head. What is known is that Mark had restrained Diane with ligature binds on her wrist and ankles. There was no escape and Diane much the same as her twin sister never stood a chance. With both sisters now wrapped in bin bags with bags over their heads, Mark put both bodies in an upstairs bedroom. Mark needed to cover his tracks as he knew before long Diane’s boyfriend Ian would be wondering where she had got to. Mark was right as Diane had agreed to meet Ian after she had dropped in to her Claire, when Diane didn’t show up as arranged Ian got concerned so-called Diane,s phone Mark answered it and told Ian that the twins father had a heart attack and had died and the twins were not wanting to talk to anyone at this
upsetting time. Ian actually bought this and also agreed to meet Mark for a drink. They went to a pub then Mark invited Ian back to his for more drinks. Ian accepted the invitation. Inside the property, Mark apologised for the pungent smell which he told Ian was because there were problems with the drains. Ian sat on the sofa, the very couch in which Claire had been bludgeoned to death just a week before. Ian noticed some blood staining which Mark passed off as Claire having “women’s problems” earlier. Ian spent the night at Mark’s unaware that in another room the bodies of Claire and Diane were led.
The next day Ian decided to go to the Sanderson house to pay his respects. What he knocked on the door was amazed when a perfect fit and well Mr Sanderson opened the door. Ian explained what Mark had told him and the two decided they had to go to Claire’s house to find out what is going on. When they got there, they discovered the bodies of Claire and Diane, but Mark was nowhere to be seen.
When the police arrived they found the two men outside shouting “their dead, the bastard has killed them.”
Selby is a relatively small town, and news travels fast. Before long the rumour mill was in full force and members of Mark’s family we’re being confronted by people asking what Mark had done. They had no idea at the time.
Police came to Mark’s ex-wife Kay’s house who confirmed what had happened and that Mark was their only suspect for the double murder and where would Mark be now. Kay had no idea, and the police left leaving Kay to explain to Mark’s children including 13-year-old Alice what her Dad had done as she couldn’t bear for Alice to hear it from someone else.
Mark had called his mother Sandra and told her that the twins had a car accident and he needed a lift to the hospital to visit them. Sandra drove her son to the hospital which was enough to give Mark a head start in his escape plan,
25 miles away disabled elderly couple Joan Britton lived. Both were in their 80’s and were virtually immobile due to illness. James, a retired railway surveyor, had Parkinson’s while his wife Joan couldn’t walk without an aide.
Mark entered the Brittons property through an open door and soon confronted Mr Britton. Mr Britton wouldn’t have stood a fighting chance, elderly and infirm Mark Beat the man with his own walking stick and left him lying on the floor. He then found Mrs Britton in the living room in the same way he crudely dispatched her husband Mrs Britton was also beaten around the head with her walking stick then as she lay on the floor Mark plunged a kitchen knife into Mrs Brittons back with such force that the blade went straight through his defenceless elderly victim and was only stopped when the blade hit the floor beneath Mrs Britton. The knife broke, and the blade was still inside Mrs Britton’s body when she was discovered around 11:15 am. By that time Mark had already ransacked the house and went through a collection of shoe boxes which the couple had in the bottom of their bedroom wardrobe. Mark was probably looking for cash or valuables but didn’t find anything he did leave lots of incriminating forensic evidence though including fingerprints on the shoe boxes.
The fingerprints were a critical piece of evidence to link the two crime scene as up to then the police were treating them as two separate incidents even though they suspected that they were connected. Police needed to find Mark quickly as they were convinced Mark would kill again. Mark’s picture was posted all over newspapers and local television where the public was warned that Mark was extremely dangerous and should not be approached. 500 officers from 12 forces, public campaigns including 10,000 leaflets and even the families of the victims but Mark could not be found. Mark’s mother also made a public appeal for her son to hand himself in.
While processing the crime scene at Mark’s home, the police found some incredible evidence including a shopping list which pretty much confirmed the premeditated nature of the twins murders. On the list was big bin liners, tape, tie wraps, fly spray and air freshener along with a list of people who were believed to be targeted. These included the twins parents and Mark’s ex-wife Kay who he blamed for taking his daughter away from him.
Mark had been on the run for 8 days and was now the most wanted man in the country. The public was rightly concerned that a quadruple murderer was on the loose and could feasibly strike again at any time.
Mark had been living in the woods but was suffering due to lack of water. He was desperate so despite the considerable risk of being captured he walked into a petrol station to buy cigarette papers, matches and water. The garage owner recognised Mark immediately and called police as soon as Mark left. Within minutes police with dogs were on the scene, and they apprehended Mark. When he was found Mark told Police “I’m a fucking murderer aren’t I?”
Mark admitted to killing the Sanderson twins but claimed no memory of killing the Britons. Charged with Murder Mark was held on remand at Wakefield high-security prison (monster mansion as it is affectionately known) Mark Hobson told prison wardens that the last five weeks he had been on a cocktail of cocaine, cannabis, ecstasy and alcohol.
Mark pleaded guilty to 4 counts of murder and was sentenced at Leeds crown court to 4 life sentences with the judge Mr Justice Grigson ordering that Life will mean life for Mark Hobson he will never be released.
Serving his sentence at the infamous monster mansion Hobson has made something of a name for himself administering his own form of jailhouse justice. In 2005 Mark Hobson threw boiling water at Ian Huntley who’s as serving life for the murders of ten-year-old schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. For a man already serving a whole life order, there is no further punishment available for Hobson and him along with many other prisoners serving full life terms will feel like they have a licence to commit any number of crimes while in prison.
At aged 14 Marks, daughter decided that she wanted to visit her Dad in prison. They spoke and Mark apologised Alice though will never forgive her Dad for what he did.
I think it’s important to stress that hindsight is 20/20 but it is my opinion that the ball was dropped when Mark was not jailed for the knife attack he Committed prior to his murder spree but there really can’t of been any way that anyone could have foreseen the what Mark was to go on and do. Mark’s addiction to alcohol no doubt played in the violent monster Mark became but we do not give this as any type of mitigation for Mark. If the murders of Diane and Claire was premeditated the slaying of James and Joan Britton was the opposite, the couple were in their 80’s and disabled they posed no threat to Mark and did not need to die. Mark no doubt was intent on robbing the property, and I can only assume killed the couple just for the sake of it as its hard to imagine two individuals who couldn’t even walk unaided putting up anything of a defence.
What I find interesting about Mark’s killing spree is that three different motives appear to of been present as Claire’s murder would be domestic, Diane’s sexual while the Britons were robbery motivated.
Finally, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the victims, their families who although have seen justice done against the man who killed them are still left with the pain. That pain became too much for Claire and Diane’s father George attempted suicide as the found coping with the loss of both his children along with the way he discovered their bodies too hard. In court Mr Sanderson spoke of the moment he saw his daughters wrapped in bin bags.
Mr Sanderson said “ I went over and grabbed hold of them. I knew that Claire was inside. I looked back To Diane and I just wanted to cuddle her”
“ I don’t know what he had done to her. I thought he had rapped her. He had taken away her dignity from her. She lay there with no clothes covered in bruises, I knew she was dead.
As a parent I can’t imagine anything worse