Ripley murder trial: Harrogate man jailed for life

Oktay Kilic has been jailed for life (s).
Oktay Kilic has been jailed for life (s).

A Harrogate man who murdered his love rival in a ‘brutal’ and ‘frenzied’ knife attack has been jailed for life after he was found guilty of murder.

A jury found Oktay Kilic, 40, of Kent Drive guilty after less an hour of deliberations. He will serve a minimum of 27 years in prison.

Kilic tracked his wife, Harrogate solicitor Kathleen Kilic, to a layby near Ripley where she was in a romantic tryst with Mark Berney, 44 from Knaresborough on August 3 2014.

There, Kilic launched a frenzied attack on Knaresborough father-of-one, Mr Berney, stabbing him over 30 times.

Judge Geoffrey Marson QC described the attack as ‘brutal’.

He told Kilic: “Mr Berney was a loving and much loved man.

“Mr Berney was in no way responsible for the breakdown of your marriage and I am satisfied that he believed that Kathleen’s marriage was over. He is not to blame and he did not deserve to die.”

A statement from Mr Berney’s family was read out in court. His sister-in-law Tina Berney said: “I can’t begin to tell you the effect Mark’s death has had on our family.”

She said her husband Steve and three young children were devastated by Mr Berney’s death.

“No parent should ever have to sit down their children and explain the horrible death their uncle suffered.”

She added: “Rose and Michael lost a much loved son their lives have been turned upside down.”

The court heard that Kilic took his own children to the country lane where he murdered Mr Berney.

Mr Cox said: “The defendant took with him to the scene his own children. They were present throughout and must have witnessed a significant part of the events. The psychological impact on them is inevitable.”

Kilic stabbed Mr Berney 33 times with a six inch kitchen knife. He was convicted of murder after a 12 day trial at Leeds Crown Court.

Earlier in the trial prosecuter Bryan Cox QC said: “He [Kilic] regarded himself as entitled to take revenge.

“He in effect executed a slaughtering of Mr Berney treating him as a man might treat an animal.”

Defending John McDermott QC said Kilic’s life had been in turmoil for months as his marriage faced problems.

He said: “The killing would not have taken place if it was not for the substantial background behind it.”

Detective Superintendent Dai Malyn, head of North Yorkshire Police’s Major Crime Unit and the senior investigating officer in the case, said: “As a result of Oktay Kilic’s savage and brutal attack on Mark Berney and his conviction for murder, he will quite rightly be serving a lengthy prison sentence.

“Although I appreciate nothing will ever compensate the tragic loss of Mark Berney to his family and friends, I hope the result provides them with some comfort and satisfaction.”

The family of Mark Berney have issued the following statement after the case concluded at court: “Following the verdict, we feel that justice has been done and Mark can now rest in peace.

“The events of August 3 2014 will never be far from our minds and the past six months have been the most traumatic and distressing time for Mark’s family, relatives and friends.

“Although Otkay Kilic will serve a long custodial sentence, the family will also serve our private sentence of never seeing Mark again.

“We wish to thank North Yorkshire Police for all their support throughout the investigation.”

See Thursday’s Harrogate Advertiser for a full report from Leeds Crown Court