Doncaster son helped mother kill partner and burn body, court heard

Thomas Groome, of Thorne.
Thomas Groome, of Thorne.

A Doncaster heroin addict helped his prostitute mother to murder her partner and burn his body so they could steal his fortune, a court heard.

Jason Thaxter, aged 39, is accused of murdering Thomas Groome so he and his mother, June Buttle, could enjoy a €150,000 windfall their victim had received, Sheffield Crown Court was told.

The court heard his mother, Buttle, was jailed last year after admitting manslaughter.

Thaxter, of Ramsden Road, Hexthorpe, is accused of murdering Thomas, 54, on New Year’s Day 2010 at the house he shared with his former partner and their children.

Dafydd Enoch QC, prosecuting, told the court that Thaxter confessed the crime to his then-girlfriend, Rebecca Duggan, just hours after the killing.

Thomas and June visited the couple’s home on Exeter Road, Wheatley, unannounced around lunch time on New Year’s Day at a time when Rebecca and the children were out.

Mr Enoch said Thomas planned to emigrate to Portugal with Buttle in January to open a bar with the 150,000 Euros compensation he had been awarded after being abused in an Irish care home – but Buttle was not keen.

Mr Enoch said: “At relatively short notice, Buttle and Thaxter decided to kill Tommy and pretend that he had gone off to Portugal on his own.

“They decided to dispose of his body, live like normal and in the meantime they planned to help themselves to his cash.

“He was taken by surprise and, no doubt in a state of semiconsciousness, was then attacked an finished off by this defendant and his mother.

“It’s mot clear how he was finished off. It is suggested he was strangled from behind by the defendant while Buttle attacked him from the front.”

Mr Enoch said there was then an attempt to burn the body in Thaxter’s back garden.

“They would have quickly realised it was futile to get rid of the body thatw ay as it was too cold and would ahve taken far too long,” he said.

“Only June Buttle and this defendant know where the body is, but neither of them have ever revealed the whereabouts.”

The court heard Thomas and June, who had been together for ten years, had a ‘very stormy and at times violent’ relationship.

Mr Enoch said: “He had beaten her and over a period of years and he was kept by her working as a prostitute.”

He added: “The motivation for the killing was a combination of revenge and greed... Thaxter, perhaps not surprisingly, hated Thomas because of what he knew about what he had done to his mother.”

The court heard Rebecca Duggan told police about Thaxter’s confession years later after finding a new partner, whom she felt safe with.

Thaxter denies murder. The trial continues.

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