Man guilty of murdering love rival and leaving his body in burning car

Mark Chilman killed his love rival Neil Parkinson and left his body in a burning car in an attempt to make it look like suicide.

A man “rejected” by his long-time girlfriend has been convicted of murdering a love rival and leaving his body in a burning car in an attempt to make it look like suicide.

Mark Chilman, 52, killed 66-year-old Neil Parkinson, who was discovered in the torched vehicle after police were called to the scene on a road near the village of Cotheridge, in Worcestershire.

Parkinson, of Clifton upon Teme, Worcestershire, was declared dead at the scene of his wrecked BMW X5 4×4 on the night of December 12 last year.

During a trial at Worcester Crown Court, the courtroom heard Chilman told police “whatever, he’s out of the way now” when detectives suggested to him that the blaze looked suspicious.

Chilman was convicted by a jury on Thursday, of murdering Parkinson.

Chilman, of Pencombe, in Bromyard, Herefordshire, will be sentenced at the same court on Monday.

Prosecutors said the defendant planned to kill Parkinson, the man who had replaced Chilman in the affections of his former partner, Juliet Adcock.

In a grim twist to his plot, he then attempted to make it appear that he had committed suicide.

The plan was part of a larger scheme to “engineer a reconciliation with the woman he could not bear to see rejecting him”.

Opening the case on the first day of the trial, prosecutor Mark Heywood QC told of how people who lived near the layby noticed the glow of a fire coming from it around 10.30pm on the night of Parkinson’s death.

“When the fire officers were able to see into the car, they found the body of a man, subsequently identified as Neil Parkinson, was in the driver’s seat of that burning car,” Heywood said.

“The evidence gathered in the investigation into how Mr Parkinson met his death that night demonstrates he was murdered, we say by this defendant, Mark Chilman, who had arranged the body in the car and set light to it to make it appear as though Mr Parkinson had killed himself.”

He added that in June 2020, Chilman’s long-term girlfriend Juliet Adcock “had ended a long and – for her part – often unhappy relationship with Mr Chilman”.

Mr Heywood went on: “Rather than accept the reality, Mr Chilman continued to find pretexts to continue to have contact with her but he was also obsessively concerned with what she was doing.”

Speaking after Chilman’s conviction, Detective Chief Inspector Dean Jones, the senior investigating officer from West Mercia Police’s Major Investigation Unit, said he was “pleased” that Chilman had been found guilty of the brutal murder.

“Chilman committed a senseless act that ended Neil’s life prematurely, and he will be sentenced on Monday,” Inspector Jones said.

“Neil Parkinson’s family have understandably been left devastated.

“Neil was simply leaving his partner’s home to return home to take care of his elderly mother when he was tragically killed in a senseless attack and my thoughts and condolences remain with them.”