Testimonials

Mark’s friends, colleagues, and clients offer their personal insight into his character. These 34 testimonies were written in 2010, but only 3 of them were made available at trial.

EC, School Teacher “Mark won an Arnold Foundation Scholarship to study as a boarder in the Sixth Form at Rugby School [2004]. He was a naturally talented singing pupil. Through diligence, he made very rapid progress and was soon picked to sing solos in major school productions. During his two years at the school he gave generously of his time and effort; the musical life of the school was richer as a result.

In all of this, Mark demonstrated ability, intelligence, courage and confidence. The fact that he was entrusted with the responsibility of these performances and that he acquitted himself very well shows his reliability in difficult circumstances. He responded well to the challenges which were given him; behaving at all times with maturity and determination.

I am astonished and extremely sorry that Mark finds himself in his current situation. I cannot believe that the boy whom I knew would be capable of such things”.

ASC, Colleague

These comments are made in a personal capacity and not on behalf of IBM United Kingdom (IBM).

“I was very impressed with Mark’s academic abilities, and suggested that he might consider working for me at IBM during his ‘gap year’ after his A-Levels. He leapt at the opportunity and joined the ‘Futures’ gap-year student employment programme of IBM, working for me [2007].

I recall feeling that Mark had a strong sense of duty to his father. It was clear to me that he cared deeply for him, and devoted a lot of time to looking after his father during his illness, and in particular after his time in hospital [2008].

I have always found Mark to be a very pleasant person, sociable, quick to make new friends and participate actively in social situations. He is intelligent and thoughtful, and has a great sense of humour. He was always careful to ensure he wasn’t taking up too much of my time, recognising that I was busy and being sensitive to that.

He was highly regarded at IBM – clearly a future star that we should nurture, and always extremely popular with friends. He was very popular with the team at Wimbledon and made a good impression. He went to work there for several months in support of the IT systems for the Tennis. Mark is very creative – a great talent that was used to great effect in the work he did.

Mark was highly entrepreneurial – during his law studies he was involved in a number of ventures in emerging internet technologies such as Virtual Worlds and Web 2.0 projects [2009]. These were around providing services to companies, like virtual business meetings. Certainly a visionary! He ran a small company that provided these software services to other companies. He mentioned a few times during his course that he had to very carefully balance his university work with his outside work.

The best words I can use to describe what I thought when I heard Mark had been arrested were: complete disbelief. From everything I know of Mark, the way he cares for people, the way he interacts with people, the efforts he went to in looking after his father during illness, his aspirations for the future, the fact he had everything to live for; there’s no way, to my mind, that he could possibly have murdered his father and disposed of the body”.

 BF, Colleague

These comments are made in a personal capacity and not on behalf of IBM United Kingdom (IBM).

“I first met Mark in 2006 at IBM, sitting a couple of desks away from me. He was what my nanny would describe as someone who ticks absolutely every box she could ever come up with. He could easily be anyone he would like to be, as far as becoming the Prime Minister! There’s the aura about him that is really pleasing and calming. Some of his work is now still in use at IBM. Still very well-known and famous.

I remember him telling me about his girlfriend in Winchester, and organising for me to meet her. I remember thinking no, don’t be silly, I’m handicapped, can’t hear, can’t speak, need help seeing in the dark, surely you’d be embarrassed to be seen with me in front of a new, pretty girl? Mark was having none of that and made every effort for me to meet her. Given this experience, the story of him murdering his dad is nonsense.

I should mention that on the very first day Mark and I met at work, he immediately went on to learn sign language. One of his hallmarks at IBM was the brilliant website he developed called “British Sign Language Portal” which included, at the time, some brilliant inventions. When he left for London it was a big loss. Things seemed to be back to being dull again. There was always the aura about him that brightens up the day. I’ve never seen a charismatic person like Mark going into IT.

Release him, I’d entrust my pets and any children with him knowing full well they’ll be kept very happy under his special care”.

IH, Colleague

These comments are made in a personal capacity and not on behalf of IBM United Kingdom (IBM).

Shown at trial

“I worked with Mark when he was an intern at IBM UK, in particular at the Wimbledon Championships [2007]. This is a very intense working environment, in a high-pressure public facing situation. We actually sat next to one another and worked very closely in this 14 hour day, 7 day a week project, creating and designing in a new online environment. Mark was a pleasure to work with. He showed a wide range of talents from technical ones to very intricate visual design and creativity. He was also incredibly helpful and willing to take time out to help the extended team and fitted straight into a very varied group of individuals. I was very pleased to see him start an online business subsequently [2008].

For me, Mark is a very talented, very balanced and very genial individual. The pressure we worked under tested people, and he passed. Without his willingness to take his work further, to suggest and innovate, the part of the project we were delivering would not have been such a success. I cannot relate the situation Mark finds himself in with the Mark that I know. My thoughts are with him and I know we will all help him through this in whatever way we can”.

TA, University Tutor

“Mark was one of my personal tutees and also a student in two of my classes [2008]. I would describe him as articulate, intelligent, ambitious, mature, charming, sociable and likeable. He was a keen student in ‘Copyright & Design’, who regularly contributed to class discussion and seemed very interested in this area of law. We discussed copyright law outside of class a couple of times, particularly its application to virtual reality and ‘Second Life’ scenarios, not least because of his previous experience at IBM before starting law school and his business enterprise relating to web design.

Mark was concerned how he would perform in the exams, given that his work had been severely disrupted in the second Semester of 2008”.

TR, University Friend “Mark has all the qualities I admire; he is likeable, reliable, flexible and well-natured, with an endearing charm and excellent sense of humour. My initial impression was that Mark was both at ease and in control – a rare combination, this respect grew as our friendship deepened. I was fascinated to learn of his business. He related, without emphasis, his achieving the top mark in the country in IT and subsequent internship with IBM. He created a Facebook application with half a million users [2009]. He was – at 20 – a young professional in every sense of the term: driven, busy, talented, focused. He was always working to a deadline. I never could get my head around how he managed to keep all the plates in the air. Everywhere he was, he seemed to be just dropping in. Often, I saw him doing work for a client during class. I was reminded that Mark had made all these possibilities for himself with the sheer force of will. Everything seemed to be falling into place.

Even after his arrest, it seemed there was no injustice or challenge he was not equal to. He focused more on his father’s death than on his imprisonment, though it was not lost on either of us that nothing could make it harder to grieve than being accused of the very act itself. “Life tests the worthy and the virtuous” I offered, and as always the reply was “you’re too kind”.

I see this trial as the last of many Mark has been through; the last obstacle in the way of an extraordinary man finally realising his potential. It is a disgrace that he was stopped so short in his tracks by these ridiculous accusations. Mark has so much to offer the world. We just hope he returns to us the way he was. His is a life that needs to be lived, not wasted”. aware that Mark spent an immense amount of time looking after his father, especially in the school holidays [2005].

HP, School Friend “I would describe Mark as a caring, intelligent, generous and outgoing young man. I have always been able to rely on Mark for anything; he is someone that has far more time for friends and family than for himself, a genuinely selfless character. He is a sensitive young man, in the manner of understanding people’s emotions. We were all aware that Mark spent an immense amount of time looking after his father, especially in the school holidays [2005].

Mark always seemed happy whenever I saw him, he is always full of life and passion, even through these darkest hours he has always been the Mark I know and love whenever I have spoken to him. Mark was someone that I could and still can trust with my life, I am proud to say that. These accusations are quite baffling in my opinion. I was shocked to hear that Mark would not be allowed to attend Sam’s funeral and I was honoured to read out the eulogy that Mark had written for his father [2010]. Many of the village residents were sympathetic towards Mark.

I have always loved and looked up to Mark, he is one of the last people I would ever have expected to be in a situation as unfair and soul destroying as this”

ZR,

Gap Year and University Friend

 

“I would describe Mark as the most positive, sophisticated, kind, funny, sensitive, caring and selfless young man. He is dedicated to those he loves and to his work, being one of the most intelligent and driven men I have the pleasure of knowing. Mark was pleased when his father was recovering from surgery and I could tell he was always more relaxed when his father was out of hospital.

Mark has achieved an incredible amount at his age, having his own business and clients while doing a law degree and being such a caring son. I would often get a call from Mark saying he was meeting a client and would I like to meet him after, he would always have time for his friends even though he had such a busy life. I had lunch with him the Wednesday before his arrest [February 2010]; he was the same person I have always known.

I trust Mark with my life (I even put all my savings up to try and secure him bail), he is one of a very few of my friends who I feel comfortable enough in his presence to do or say almost anything. In the time I have known him I have never once felt anything negative toward him, or seen any other side to him than the loving, caring person I described above. The accusations are flawed based on Mark’s character alone. He is an irreplaceable friend”.

CO, Colleague

These comments are made in a personal capacity and not on behalf of IBM United Kingdom (IBM).

“From the outset Mark struck me as an approachable, professional and friendly chap, with whom conversation was always easy. He undoubtedly brightened up my time in IBM Hursley [2007]. It was very clear that he was extremely bright, and entirely socially capable. I recall being impressed by the ease with which he conducted himself as well as his achievements in a work context, in addition to his many other skills, for example as a musician and an artist”.
CS, Friend
;
“Apart from his good looks, Mark is certainly an incredible boyfriend to SN, but perhaps more importantly one of the most amazing people I have ever met. I immediately noticed how caring Mark was; he would always ask if SN or I wanted anything, and if there was a request Mark was the first to offer to get it. During their housewarming party [October 2009] he ensured every girl got home safely, either ordering all their taxis or personally accompanying them to the bus, waiting until it would arrive no matter how long it would take.

It’s his sincere kindness that makes everybody around Mark love him. He always ensures that everyone around him is happy before concentrating on himself. I recall on SN’s birthday [November 2009] how he spent his whole day (and that literally means 9am to 5pm) running around London buying her presents, returning home out of breath with a huge bouquet of flowers and a whole box of freshly made cakes that SN could pick from, just to ensure her utmost happiness.

Additionally, Mark is extremely ambitious and entrepreneurial. Already a successful IT consultant aged only 22. In my lifetime, Mark is one of the few young males I know that has this innovative drive for success, someone who has that sparkle in his eyes that makes him unique. Mark is truly a ‘self-made man’ and losing everything he has achieved thus far would be a tragedy.

I have no doubt, nor have I ever doubted, that Mark is completely innocent. I love him like a friend, practically everything about Mark emphasises his big heart and this heart is incapable of any wrong doing towards anyone. If anything, Mark’s big heart is what allows others to use him”

IG, Friend “Even the evening I first met Mark, he managed to make a tremendous impression and convince me about his remarkable character. Mark was a gentleman, very friendly and was constantly making sure that everyone at the table was involved and feeling at ease. With his great sense of humour, genuine interest in whatever anyone had to say and accommodating attitude, he was very easy to like and exceptionally pleasant company.

Being a good friend of his girlfriend, my primary concern was whether he treats her well and is this the right guy for her; and I must say, I could not approve more. The affection, tight bond and mutual respect between the two was apparent at first sight. When SN wasn’t feeling well, Mark took her home even though he was having a good time and would have liked to stay longer. I couldn’t imagine that such a caring and considerate person would be a threat to anyone in any way. What I also see as demonstrative of his character is that he offered me a job and a place to stay when I expressed a desire to work in London over the summer, even though he hardly knew me and had no gain of his own in it. I view that as a purely altruistic action which portrays his kind heart and willingness to help a fellow in need.

From the way he described his father’s health situation, I could see that he was sincerely concerned about the suffering his father had endured, both physically and emotionally [December 2009]. You don’t need to know someone for a long time to be able to read the look in their eyes. I trust Mark”.

AB, Colleague

These comments are made in a personal capacity and not on behalf of IBM United Kingdom (IBM).

Shown at trial

“Over a three month period [2007], Mark worked with me and other colleagues to build highly innovative and creative virtual representations. He is a very talented and likeable man. He is well mannered and treats people politely and with respect. Mark was a joy to be with and work with, reliable and trustworthy. It’s hard to fault the guy; if anything when I worked with him I noticed that he was a little naïve. He has everything going for him to become a very successful person in the future. The impact he made on the entire IBM@Wimbledon team was very positive and he is well liked. Mark was very upset and concerned about his father’s condition when he became ill [2008]”.
AM,

University Friend

“Mark is a charming and delightful young man. He always makes time to say hello and ask how you are. His welcoming smile would always brighten up a day. Mark would never make people feel uncomfortable and is friendly and approachable. I believe SN to be a very lucky girl because he is caring, sweet-natured and incredibly thoughtful”.
MH, School Friend “Mark seemed more than happy to look after his father and I believe he deemed it to be far more important than the self-indulgent pleasures London offered. I’ve always been impressed by Mark’s entrepreneurial streak, and his diversity of interests. His success in making a name for himself in business and technology, with such creative and original ideas, is truly astonishing considering he has been balancing this with a full time degree and the long term care of his father. His ambition, drive and creativity allowed him to do all this.

Mark is generous and selfless and goes to great lengths to help people, particularly his friends. I trust Mark absolutely and completely”.

IM, Friend “Mark has shown himself to be a reliable, well-mannered and considerate person, with a well-respected reputation of admirable professional, personal and academic achievement. I value his friendship and am honoured to know him. I do not stand alone when I say that these accusations do not fit Mark’s personality and direction in life”.
SJB,

Gap Year Friend

“From the start I found Mark to be a person of gentle nature, an intelligent individual with a lot of ambition. He is easy to talk to, always welcoming and good company. He makes those around him feel comfortable and his demeanour instils a sense of trustworthy confidence in those he meets. He is someone who can achieve a great deal. Despite his many achievements and awards, Mark is very modest. The news of his arrest has come as a complete shock. The notion that Mark could be guilty of such a crime is inconceivable”.
KL, University Friend “Mark is one of the most intelligent and talented people I know, extremely well spoken and charming. He never bragged about his achievements or career, which made him easy to get along with”
SW,

Gap Year Friend

“I have always known Mark to be the kind, incredibly friendly, thoughtful, hard-working and genuine guy that he is. When I speak with mutual friends and anyone who knows Mark or has ever met him, similar thoughts and feelings to my own are echoed by all, a negative word is never said. In every aspect of his life, Mark exhibits a level of kindness which in an ideal world would be matched by all. Aside from his likeable demeanour, he has always struck me as an incredibly bright and successful individual with maturity beyond his years. He more than deserves everything he has achieved and the successful future he will no doubt have.

I have absolutely no doubt of Mark’s innocence and can describe the charge of murder as nothing other than completely and utterly ridiculous. It has really hurt me that Mark has had to suffer as he has done over recent months. Mark is an innocent man and I pray that this innocence is proven to allow a son to grieve the loss of his father. Mark is surrounded by hundreds of friends that care so dearly for him; I only wish that it was possible to give more of this support in person that on paper”.

VG,

Gap Year Friend

“I have always been very good friends with Mark. He would always help me and his other mates out. His projects were always successful and provided him with a regular income stream. We would always have a good time when he was around. The last few months have been a shock to me, it is clear Mark is innocent and is being held just because the police want the case closed”.
NP, University Friend “Mark is a very kind and gregarious person, elected as a member of our Law Society committee [2009]. All of us who know him find it hard to believe te circumstances he now finds himself in”.
EG, University Friend “Mark was chosen and elected by his peers for the King’s College Law Society [2009] because he was the best person for the role”.
RI, University Friend “I always saw Mark as someone to look up to, someone who has achieved a great deal at such a young age both academically and professionally. If there was a simple way to describe him, he was always kind, courteous and caring when I had a question or concern. Everything I have learned since then shows me Mark has been devastated and in shock because of the loss of his father. Worse still, he has had to come to terms with this in prison, something I know he did not expect from the legal system he was trying to learn about. His resilience shows his strength”.
JF, Client “I would describe Mark as a well-rounded individual. I see him as a very smart young man. His talent was clear for me. He was always composed in our meetings, very professional, insightful and helpful. I count him as one of my more accomplished business contacts. Over time he became a good friend”.
PK, Gap Year Friend “I refuse to believe Mark could have done anything like what he’s been accused of”.
NK, Friend “I am in absolute shock and there are seriously no words to describe how wrong the accusations are towards Mark. Mark has always been so lovely, sweet and nice. He would in no way be able to cause anyone any pain. SN is one of my closest friends and their relationship was a clear example of what an incredibly loving, loyal and great guy Mark is. I hope this awful nightmare will soon come to an end”.
VS, University Friend “Mark is one of the most caring, giving, selfless and charming people I have met. None of us can begin to empathise with what he is going through, but he should know that we are all with him when he needs us most. This will end well, because Mark’s place is not in prison. The world has to witness his talents, his humour and his brilliant mind”.
RK, University Friend “Mark is by far one of the nicest, kindest and funniest guys I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. You could always count on him to have our seminar class in laughter. He will always have my support”.
IT, Former Girlfriend “What is terrifying is that if this can happen to Mark, a most thoughtful and caring person, then it could happen to any of us. It is so incredibly unfair that he must deal with his father’s death whilst in jail and whilst being blamed”.
LAP, Gap Year Friend “I always found Mark to be a very effervescent and intelligent individual, with a fantastic sense of humour, always in such good spirits and always very confident. Mark has always been a very caring and attentive friend, kind, always thinking of others and doing whatever he can to help the situations of those around him. He was and still is such a good communicator and many an hour or so has been easily whiled away in hilarious discussion with him. I simply cannot imagine anyone less likely than Mark to be accused of the crime of which he has been”.
WO, School Friend “Mark is a hugely talented guy with exceptional musicality as well as academic capabilities and achievements. Despite this, he always remained very humble and modest and that is something I always admired of Mark and learnt from him. He was very patient, honest and kind meaning, someone I regularly turned to for advice and for any issues I had”.
LP, School Friend’s Parent “Mark never criticised his father, or complained about him, when I said anything about his father he just shrugged it off. He has been a most dutiful son, patient and trustworthy. He has never let his father down and has always been loyal to him”.
ES, HMP Bullingdon “I have worked with Mark since he came to Bullingdon in February 2010. He was referred to me for bereavement counselling after the death of his father. Mark was experiencing difficulties coping with his grief in prison and coming to terms with his father’s death. He had spent a long time preparing the service for his father’s funeral, writing a moving poem to be read as a eulogy on the day.

He has coped very well under very difficult circumstances. He channels his emotional energy into music and education. He is also supportive of other prisoners, helping them in many ways. Mark’s sentence to date has not been an easy one. Initially, I was very concerned about him. However, after his court case his goal was to clear his name and this remains his objective today. He has dealt with the enormous pressure he faced appropriately and calmly Mark continues to be in a strong relationship with his partner and is visited by her and his friends frequently. Mark works well during the counselling sessions; he is always extremely polite and courteous”.

JPi, Neighbour “Mark always came across as a charming man, who is well educated, well spoken and well dressed. He never went out with the lads or got drunk”.
JG, Neighbour “Mark was a very pleasant young man. I couldn’t imagine how he became so nice after having the father he did”.

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