Killer who killed greenkeeper with a horseshoe is jailed for 21 years

Train killer who battered fellow passenger to death with a horseshoe after an argument over loud music following Arsenal game is jailed for 21 years

  • Kirkpatrick Virgo, 42, was jailed for murdering 24-year-old Thomas Parker
  • They argued over music on a train travelling towards Reading railway station
  • Read: Pictured: Man who killed greenkeeper with horseshoe guilty of murder

A man who battered a golf greenkeeper to death with a horseshoe after an argument about loud music on a train has been jailed for 21 years. 

Kirkpatrick Virgo, 42, was jailed at Reading Crown Court for murdering Thomas Parker, 24, after the pair rowed over music coming from a boombox speaker as they travelled towards Reading railway station. 

The 42-year-old, from Slough, previously admitted manslaughter and carrying an offensive weapon, but denied murder. 

The jury returned a guilty verdict after deliberating for three hours and 49 minutes. 

The victim’s father Steven Parker described how ‘everything went black’ as he saw his son lying on the platform at Reading station, where the victim was killed. 

Kirkpatrick Virgo, 42, has been jailed for 21 years for murdering a greenkeeper with a horseshoe after an argument over loud music on a train

Golf club greenkeeper Thomas Parker, 24, (pictured) was killed with a metal horseshoe after his brother objected to music being played too loudly on a train, a court heard

‘Tom had a lovely personality and always had a smile on his face,’ he said. 

‘He was very clever and had lots of friends, Tom did not have a bad bone in his body. I would describe him as a lover not a fighter.

‘I received a phone call from our son Craig. Every parent’s worst nightmare was about to unfold in front of us.’

Mr Parker said he was unable to comfort his son or hug him because of the crime scene unveiling in front of him when he arrived at the station.

He said: ‘We approached in fear, hoping in our hearts we would be able to take Tom home with us, or at least take him to hospital where he could receive medical treatment. We could not be more wrong.

‘We wanted to hug Tom, to take him home, to gently shake him and tell him to wake up. To tell him everything will be OK.’

He described his son as being like a brother, and added that Craig had ‘not only lost his brother but also his closest friend’.

The father told the court that Tom had recently been promoted to deputy greenkeeper at a golf green.

Mr Parker’s brother, Craig Parker, described how he saw Virgo pull this horeshoe from his rucksack and hit the victim with it

His family now find it too painful to use Reading station and Mr Parker said he is scared of what could happen every time a family member leaves the house.

The court heard that Virgo, 42, was a father of four and had five previous convictions for crimes such as drink-driving, and on another occasion he was found with crack cocaine and heroin.

He was found guilty by jurors after three hours and 49 minutes of deliberation on Wednesday.

The row on the train began when Craig Parker, 27, told one of Virgo’s friends to turn the music down at about 11pm on July 30 last year.

The two groups shouted at each other before the altercation was ended by off-duty police officers.

Virgo then followed the brothers when the train arrived at Reading.

The court heard that he followed the group, removing a heavy metallic horseshoe from his rucksack, which he used to hit Thomas Parker on the head.

He was then chased by Craig Parker who tackled his brother’s killer, and the pair were separated by security.

The row over loud music occurred after Virgo and his friends boarded the Elizabeth Line at Slough Station

Despite the efforts of emergency services, Thomas Parker was pronounced dead at 12.40am.

Sentencing Virgo, Judge Amjad Nawaz said: ‘In the blink of an eye Thomas Parker lost his life after being dealt a blow to back of his head. He died at 14 minutes past midnight on July 31 last year.

READ MORE: ‘Do you want to die tonight?’: What killer asked greenkeeper moments before battering him to death with a horseshoe as he now faces life in prison for murder

‘That event changed the lives of those connected to both Tom Parker and Virgo forever. Those changes are there forever and that is a tragedy for both families.

‘Mr Parker was 24 years old and was a son and brother and grandson – his loss will be there for all those connected forever.

‘No sentence I can pass will ever put that right. His family will be denied the pleasure of watching him grow up and flourish.

‘I am satisfied that the defendant’s remorse is genuine.’ 

Earlier the prosecutor had revealed that Virgo has five previous convictions for criminal damage, harassment, drink-driving, possessing crack cocaine and heroin and another driving offence.

Defence counsel Alan Kent told the court: ‘We all appreciate the pain the family feels and we have enormous sympathy for their heartache.

‘But no matter how moved one might be by personal statements – the defendant must know that the judge will not be swayed by emotion. 

‘Judges are not afforded the luxury of emotion – they have to apply the facts of the case and the law of the case as it is.

‘Mr Virgo is 42 years old. He has no convictions for any weapons offences. He was not carrying any drugs with him. He was on his way to a barbecue with a friend. 

‘All of those factors are relevant to the question of whether or not he had the horseshoe with him to commit any offence. ‘

MailOnline has contacted British Transport Police for more information. 

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