Northumbria student allegedly murdered after boyfriend found messages from other men
Jason Brockbanks was found dead three days later after being stabbed in his student halls
Northumbria University student Jason Brockbanks was allegedly stabbed by boyfriend Aaron Ray after he found messages from other boys on Grindr, a court has been told.
A video taken by Ray, 21, allegedly shows him scrolling through a number of messages on Jason’s phone which suggest Jason had cheated on him, which took place moments before the stabbing.
Prosecutors say Ray stabbed Jason, 24, as he lay under his duvet and then fled the scene. Ray, from Sunderland, denies murder and continues trial.
Jason was found three days later by staff at the student accommodation after an email was sent concerned for Jason’s welfare.
According to the Chronicle, David Lamb KC, prosecuting, said the couple had been on a night out in Newcastle on Friday 23rd September last year. CCTV from the night shows that there was no aggression between the pair whilst out.
Later, the pair were captured on a Ring doorbell on Howard Street. Mr Lamb said: “It’s here the dynamic, you may think, had begun to change.
“It appears an argument starts, with the defendant and deceased concerning, possibly, a cigarette. The defendant walks off, leaving Jason behind.”
At 3.43am footage shows they were outside Jason’s student accommodation. Mr Lamb said: “You will see Jason sits down on a low wall before they go in. This defendant forcibly kicks Jason.
“The prosecution say it’s apparent from that footage it’s this defendant who was the aggressor, this defendant who is acting violently towards Jason and Jason remains passive throughout. At one point you may have thought he was cowering away from what was happening.”
The couple then entered Jason’s flat and this is the last time he is seen.
Mr Lamb said: “The prosecution case is while they were inside Jason’s flat, this defendant videoed himself using his own mobile phone in the en suite bathroom, scrolling through Jason’s phone and recording messages Jason had exchanged with other men.
“We suggest it was that scrolling that you are about to see and the realisation Jason was sexually interested in other males that was the trigger for the stabbing and ultimately this murder. The prosecution say this murder was committed after the scrolling stopped at 4.14am.”
“The prosecution say after finishing the scrolling of the text messages or electronic communications between Jason and other males, this defendant lost his temper, went into the bedroom where Jason was and committed the murder.”
Prosecutors allege that, before fleeing the scene, Ray moved the knife back into the kitchen, with blood still on.
The following Tuesday, staff at Tyne Mansion received an email asking if someone could go and check on Jason. After there was no answer, a master key was used to enter his flat.
Mr Lamb said: “She saw the TV was turned on, the bed appeared unmade, there was staining to the bed covers and carpet. She saw a hand print in blood on a door frame to the en suite bathroom.
“On opening the en suite bathroom door, she saw Jason Brockbanks slumped in the shower cubicle with his legs protruding outside. He was very obviously dead.
“He was wearing only a pair of bloodstained underpants. He was, I’m afraid to say, in the early stages of decomposition.”
Jurors were told that there was a substantial amount of blood on the bed and covers, with evidence pointing towards Jason being stabbed in his bed, then making his way to the bathroom and falling into the shower.
Mr Lamb said: “That fatal injury would not have led to Jason Brockbanks’ immediate incapacitation. It’s likely he would have been capable of purposeful movement around the flat for a significant period of time. Furthermore, it remains a possibility that Jason may indeed have survived if medical attention had been sought.
“Of course this defendant did not summon the emergency services. As you know he was not found dead until three days after the murder.”
Jurors watched body cam footage of Ray being arrested outside his family home in Sunderland in the early hours of 29th September. Ray told police he didn’t know Jason had died on the night. He claimed Jason would become aggressive and violent when drunk. He claimed Jason had attacked him and in retaliation picked up a knife to get him off him.
Mr Lamb said: “He agreed he found out Jason had cheated on him after seeing Grindr notifications which popped up on Jason’s phone saying ‘we should f*** again’.”
Ray said they both had dating app Grindr downloaded on their phones. Mr Lamb said: “The defendant said he would not like it if it was the other way around and he said that happened when they were both lying on the bed just before the incident occurred. He confirmed he and Jason were in an exclusive relationship.”
Aaron Ray denies murder and the trial continues.
If you are a Northumbria University student feeling unsettled about the news, please be aware that support is available. You can access 24/7 information, advice and support through the Ask4Help service and specialist support through the professional counselling and mental health team. To access these services please visit Student Life and Wellbeing.
If you are a Newcastle University student and need support, you can access 24/7 information, advice and support through the TalkCampus and iNCLude service and find specialist support through the professional counselling and mental health team. To access these services please visit Student Wellbeing.