Family of dad killed by neighbour in parking row slam 'toothless' police response

6 April 2022, 00:27 | Updated: 6 April 2022, 00:37

Can Arslan, 52, (left) stabbed father-of-three Matthew Boorman 27 times.
Can Arslan, 52, (left) stabbed father-of-three Matthew Boorman 27 times. Picture: Supplied

By Sophie Barnett

The heartbroken family of a father-of-three who was murdered by his neighbour following years of threats and abuse have slammed the police for their "toothless and ineffective" response.

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Father-of-three Matthew Boorman, 43, was stabbed 27 times by Can Arslan, 52, on the victim’s front lawn in the Gloucestershire village of Walton Cardiff near Tewkesbury on October 5 last year.

Arslan, who has been found guilty of murder, then sat on his body and lit a cigarette, before Mrs Boorman tried to pull the killer off her husband.

The horrific murder was the culmination of 12 years of threats from Arslan against his neighbours, Bristol Crown Court heard.

Mr Boorman's wife Sarah suffered a deep wound to her leg as she tried to pull the attacker off her husband, before he forced his way into the home of another neighbour, Peter Marsden, and knifed him eight times.

Mr Boorman's family have criticised the police and authorities for their "toothless and ineffective" response to the danger Arslan posed, following multiple threats they had reported.

Read more: Parking row killer guilty of stabbing dad-of-three 27 times and trying to kill neighbour

The police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), has confirmed it is investigating Gloucestershire Police's actions.

The day before the murder a police officer had telephoned Arslan about a counter-allegation he had made, accusing the Boormans of racially abusing him.

During the call, Arslan verbally abused the officer, calling him a motherf***** and a cocksucker, and told him he would sort his neighbour out himself, adding "I will murder him".

In May last year, Mrs Boorman had made a statement to police setting out a summary of the threats they had received from the defendant.

She said they were worried about being murdered, or that someone was going to be seriously hurt very soon.

At the time of the murder, Arslan was the subject of an injunction prohibiting him from threatening or abusing his neighbours, and had been served with a notice of eviction.

Arslan admitted the attempted murder of Mr Marsden, causing grievous bodily harm to Mrs Boorman, and a charge of affray, but denied murder.

Instead, he claimed he was guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, but this was rejected by the jury which convicted him of murder.

He will be sentenced in June.

Speaking after the verdict, Mr Boorman's sister Sarah Elston said the incident has shocked the family "to the core" but was "not remotely out of the blue" and claims the police had been informed of how dangerous Arslan was.

"We will never be the same without him, but as we move forward and learn how to cope without him, we fight in his name to expose not only the malice and cruelty of the man that did this, but also the failings in the system that let this happen," she said.

"In the years that preceded Matthew's death, multiple agencies and authorities were warned of the threat that this man posed not only to Matthew, but to many other neighbours who were threatened and harmed by him.

"Although Matthew's murder has shocked us all to the core, the incident was not remotely out of the blue.

"The police and other authorities had been told about how dangerous this man was, the threats he made, and the risks he presented.

"The response was toothless and ineffective, even when the defendant himself told the police he was going to murder Matthew.

"That conversation took place on October 4, the night before Matthew died. He was not even warned.

"Matthew was not this man's only victim on that dreadful evening, but he was the only one with the misfortune to pay the high price of his life.

"But Matthew's story must not end here. We must all ask ourselves why this was able to happen, and how things were ever allowed to get this far. Mistakes were made.

"They must be acknowledged, truly learned from, and must never be repeated."

Mr Boorman's widow spoke of his zest for life and how he loved spending time with his family.

She said: "Perhaps what people will remember most of all about Matt is his smile. His energy, his love, his laughter - a very proud father of his children."

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating Gloucestershire Police's "actions following a series of reported neighbourhood incidents" prior to Mr Boorman's death.

During the trial, the court heard that Arslan was not mentally ill or in the grip of psychosis, but that he has been diagnosed with a personality disorder.

It manifested itself in extreme anger and aggression to perceived insults, making grandiose claims about himself and an exaggerated sense of his own importance.

Craig Holden, Assistant Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Police, said an independent multi-agency review had been commissioned.

"It is crucial we allow these reviews to be carried out without prejudice and as such it would not be appropriate to comment in any detail at this time," he said.

"We can reassure people that we will act on their findings and that we have already been working hard to listen to members of the community and take any steps possible to improve how we can keep people safe."