Father and his son jailed for ‘harrowing and brutal’ murder of wife’s new lover after hunting him down to wardrobe hiding place in his Norfolk home

  • Wayne Peckham, 49, and Riley Peckham, 23, were found guilty of the murder
  • Matthew Rodwell, 39, was killed January 23, 2022 in Downham Market, Norfolk

A jilted husband who murdered his estranged wife’s new lover with the help of his son after hunting him down to his Norfolk home and finding him hiding in a wardrobe has been jailed today.

Wayne Peckham, 49, was jailed for 24 years after being found guilty of the ‘harrowing and brutal’ murder of Matthew Rodwell, 39. His son Riley Peckham, 23, was handed an 18-year sentence for his part in the murder on January 23, 2022.

Wayne, estranged from his wife Kerry Peckham, let himself into the house Kerry shared with Matthew after her son Riley had climbed through a first-floor window.

Riley shouted ‘you’re going to die’, ‘here doggy’ and ‘good boy’ before finding him in Kerry’s youngest son’s bedroom wardrobe at Downham Market, Norfolk.

Norwich Crown Court heard that the pair found Mr Rodwell before beating and strangling him to death at the bottom of the stairs. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

A jilted husband who murdered his estranged wife’s new lover with the help of his son after finding him hiding in a wardrobe was jailed for 24 years today. Wayne Peckham, 49, (pictured) was jailed after being found guilty of the ‘harrowing and brutal’ murder of Matthew Rodwell, 39

His son Riley Peckham, 23, (pictured) was jailed for 18 years for his part in the murder on January 23, 2022

Wayne, estranged from his wife Kerry Peckham, pictured left, let himself into the house Kerry shared with Matthew (right) after her son Riley had climbed through a first-floor window

A post mortem revealed Mr Rodwell had 40 ‘significant’ injuries after being repeatedly kicked, stamped and punched. His likely cause of death appeared to be manual strangulation.

Mr Rodwell’s blood was found on the clothing of Wayne and Riley, of Hilgay, Norfolk, and Mr Rodwell’s DNA was under both men’s fingernails. Riley’s DNA was also found on Mr Rodwell’s neck.

Kerry tried to get herself between the pair and Matthew to stop them. Matthew had 40 ‘significant’ injuries from being kicked, stamped and punched. 

The pair then hunted Matthew down and beat and strangled him to death in front of Mrs Peckham.

The father and son from Hilgay, Norfolk, were sentenced to 24 and 18 respectively for murder at Norwich Crown Court, Norfolk, on Tuesday.

The jury took 10 hours to deliberate before finding the pair unanimously guilty after a six-week trial. The pair had denied murder.

Judge Anthony Bate said: ‘Wayne had committed targetted vandalism to Matthew’s car, stalked him on previous occasions and set fire to a coat Matthew bought for Wayne’s youngest son Harvey and posted the video on Facebook.

‘Riley took his father’s side against Matthew. Their visit [to Matthew’s house] was no speculative social call. They suspected Matthew was there with Kerry and decided to do him serious harm.

‘This was a brutal and sustained assault on a man in his home and in front of her partner who was herself injured. The attack wasn’t spontaneous. The premeditation by Wayne Peckham is significant.’

Riley had found Matthew’s pair of shoes at the bottom of the stairs on January 23, 2022, and shouted, ‘he’s here’ to his father outside the house. Wayne then let himself in through the front door.

Matthew, a refuse worker and father of two, had called 999 from the wardrobe after realising the pair were outside and told the operator he was afraid of what was about to happen.

Riel Karmy-Jones KC, prosecuting, said Mr Rodwell, from Fincham, Norfolk, was ‘terrified about being found by Riley and Wayne’.

She said during the call, made from a bedroom wardrobe in Kerry’s youngest son’s room, Mr Rodwell expressed ‘genuine fear about what was about to take place’.

Kerry said they ‘thumped and beat the life out of him’. She herself was also injured as a result.

A recording from Matthew’s 999 call heard his last word, ‘sorry’ before a ‘guttural sound’ was recorded a minute later.

Matthew, a refuse worker (pictured) and father of two, had called 999 from the wardrobe after realising the pair were outside and told the operator he was afraid of what was about to happen

A post mortem revealed Mr Rodwell, who was pronounced dead at the scene at his home in Downham Market, Norfolk, had 40 ‘significant’ injuries after being repeatedly kicked, stamped and punched. His likely cause of death appeared to be manual strangulation. Pictured with his partner Kerry Peckham

Riley shouted ‘you’re going to die’, ‘here doggy’ and ‘good boy’ before finding him in Kerry’s youngest son’s bedroom wardrobe at Downham Market, Norfolk. Norwich Crown Court heard that the pair found Mr Rodwell (pictured with Kerry) before beating and strangling him to death at the bottom of the stairs. He was pronounced dead at the scene

Police bodycam footage captured the moment that Wayne and Riley Peckham (pictured) were arrested for the ‘harrowing and brutal’ joint attack on Matthew Rodwell

Police arrived at about 8.05pm and could hear ‘screaming’ from inside. A distraught Kerry Peckham came to the door with the body of Mr Rodwell lying in the hall.

Wayne was detained at the scene after he had initially tried to hide behind a curtain, while Riley escaped in handcuffs. He was caught a couple of hours later at his step-grandfather’s address.

The court heard Kerry Peckham moved in with Mr Rodwell after ending her ‘turbulent’ relationship with Wayne, the father of her three children, who was ‘rough, volatile and controlling’ towards her.

Ms Karmy-Jones said Wayne could be ‘aggressive’ after drinking and was a ‘bad influence’ on his son Riley.

As well as murder Wayne was convicted of assaulting his wife with assault occasioning actual bodily harm on the same night.

He was also convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm involving another family in Downham Market in December, 2021, and sentenced to 15 months and 16 months for the assaults, to run concurrently with his 24-year life sentence.

Riley was also convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm in relation to the same incident in December, 2021 and sentenced to 12 months and eight months to run concurrently with his 18 year sentence.

Matthew and Kerry got together after she left Wayne in the spring of 2021.

Matthew had moved into her house in Downham Market but parked a distance away to avoid Wayne from finding out.

The court heard that Wayne had spent the afternoon in a pub before heading to her house, where the pair moved a doorbell and CCTV camera.

Ms Karmy-Jones said the pair ‘acted together to settle scores’ as a ‘joint enterprise’.

Senior Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Chris Burgess, from the Major Investigation Team, said: ‘This was a harrowing and brutal murder.

‘I know some of the evidence given in court, especially the 999 call, has been difficult to listen to.

‘In this call, we hear the final frightening moments of Matthew’s life, a life taken by the actions of two men overcome with jealousy and rage, acting like a pack of animals.

Mr Rodwell was pronounced dead at the house in Downham Market, Norfolk. The cause of death was strangulation

Mr Rodwell’s blood was found on the clothing of Wayne and Riley (pictured), of Hilgay, Norfolk, and Mr Rodwell’s DNA was under both men’s fingernails. Riley’s DNA was also found on Mr Rodwell’s neck

 As well as murder Wayne was convicted of assaulting his wife with assault occasioning actual bodily harm on the same night. He was also convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm involving another family in Downham Market in December, 2021, and sentenced to 15 months and 16 months for the assaults, to run concurrently with his 24-year life sentence

‘I want to thank the family and friends of Matthew for their patience, support and bravery throughout this investigation and I’m grateful the correct verdict has been reached by the jury in this case.

‘Our thoughts remain with Matthew’s family and friends, and we will continue to support them for as long as they need.

‘This was one of two murder investigations launched on the same night following the tragic death of 19-year-old Lauren Malt who was killed in nearby West Winch.

‘While the timing and proximity of the incidents created challenges, we had sufficient resources in place to handle the murder investigations, both of which have led to the offenders being prosecuted.’

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