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Mark and John: The Fantasists

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Fantasy turns to reality

On Sunday, 29 June 2003, the two teenage boys set out from Altrincham, Greater Manchester. They met up at Trafford shopping centre, where Mark casually told John he needed to pick up a knife. Mark withdrew money from the cash machine, they went into a shop and Mark told John to select a knife. He chose a six-inch Sabatier and Mark paid for it. Mark later told police that letting John select the knife would somehow make his death easier for him.
Mark apparently began to feel sick and dizzy and the boys sat down for a rest. He was having disturbing visions of what he was about to do and that was to stab his friend to death. Mark tried telling John how he was feeling, saying that he “might have to do something” that day. John knew what it was but remained silent.
The boys then walked to a wooded area nearby and it was here that Mark told John he would have to stab him. For over an hour, Mark held the knife close to John’s body, saying, “You have to let me do it”. Mark says, “I was not in control. I did not even feel like me. I put the knife to his stomach and pressed down on it. The knife went into him and he started bleeding through his top. I hugged him as I did not want to hurt him. Then I put the knife into him again.”

The boys then returned to Altrincham. Here they went to a MacDonald’s restaurant to buy a Coke before heading towards Goose Green, a fashionable area of Altrincham. It was here that they entered a deserted alleyway. John seemed determined to go ahead with the suicide/murder that he did not use the pre-determined ‘6969’ code for aborting the plan.
Mark told John he was his best friend before plunging the knife into John’s stomach. John shouted at Mark to stop and started to scream in pain. Mark tried to get the younger boy to calm down and be quiet so as not to attract attention. Mark reported to police later that he had not felt in control at that point but, determined to complete his secret mission, had plunged the knife once more into John’s body.
Shortly before 8pm on 29 June 2003, police received a phone call from Mark. He told them that his best friend had been stabbed by an unknown attacker, in a deserted alley, off the main street in Altrincham, Greater Manchester.
Police and an ambulance arrived a few moments later and John was rushed to Wythenshawe Hospital in a critical condition from stab wounds, one of which had damaged a kidney and his liver. Following emergency treatment, John survived the attack and remained in hospital for a week.