Ex-binman admits four murders

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The Independent Online

A former binman pleaded guilty today to murdering twin sisters and an elderly couple.

A former binman pleaded guilty today to murdering twin sisters and an elderly couple.

Mark Hobson, 35, pleaded guilty at Leeds Crown Court to murdering his girlfriend Claire Sanderson, 27, and her sister Diane, along with pensioners James Britton, 80, and his wife Joan, 82, in York last summer.

It emerged that Hobson, of New Lane, Selby, North Yorkshire, had scribbled the names of other potential victims on a possible hit list and police feared he may strike again.

Closely flanked by two prison officers, Hobson bowed his head and appeared to beclose to tears as he muttered "guilty" four times as each of the counts wasput to him.

As the first count was read out by the court clerk, which related to Claire Sanderson, some of the victim's 20 relatives in the packed courtroom burst into tears.

After entering his pleas, Hobson, who was wearing a dark grey suit and sporting a shaved head, sat between the officers with his head bowed.

Opening the case for the prosecution, Paul Worsley QC said: "The defendant murdered four people between July 10 and July 19, 2004.

"His victims were Claire and Diane Sanderson, who were twin sisters aged 27, and James and Joan Britton, in their 80s, a couple who were not only elderly but very frail.

"The circumstances surrounding these deaths, we submit, are horrific and chilling."

Mr Worsley began his case by outlining what he described as "disturbing episodes" of violence in Hobson's past.

He said Hobson had lured Diane to the flat he shared with Claire.

Mr Worsley told the court that some months prior to the murders last summer, Hobson had told a fellow refuse collector that he had picked the "wrong sister" and that he would have her.

That happened on July 17 last year.

Mr Worsley said that in 1990 a woman complained that Hobson had grabbed herround the throat after having sex with her and then began hitting her about theface "like a mad man" before suddenly stopping.

The prosecutor said another man witnessed Hobson putting a knife to a man's eye in 2003, and threaten to pull his eyeball out.

Also in 2003, Hobson stabbed William Brace five times in the chest which resulted in him receiving a community punishment after admitting grievous bodily harm.

Mr Worsley said that in the same year a woman called Emma Hobson said the defendant lost his temper with her on Boxing Day and lashed out at her five times with a clenched fist.

Mr Worsley said Hobson had a number of convictions for offences over the years but had never received a custodial sentence.