Cancer victim 'kicked to death' on the streets

A TERMINALLY ill Suffolk man was “literally kicked to death” after being dragged into an alleyway by a 16-year-old boy and a 22-year-old man, it has been alleged.

A TERMINALLY ill Suffolk man was “literally kicked to death” after being dragged into an alleyway by a 16-year-old boy and a 22-year-old man, it has been alleged.

John Vry, 55, who was suffering from cancer, was seen holding on to a lamppost at the entrance of the alleyway in London Road South, Lowestoft shortly before he was subjected to a violent attack during which he received repeated blows to his head, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Mr Vry, who was married with three children, had been given a life expectancy of between three and six months by doctors last summer and by the time of the alleged attack in December he was “plainly not a strong man”, said Karim Khalil, prosecuting.

On the evening of December 3 last year Mr Vry, who had formerly worked as an electrician and a shopkeeper, had left his home in London Road South to by some chips and after calling in at the shop to check the closing time he had gone to a nearby shop to buy tobacco.

Mr Khalil alleged that after leaving the shop he was confronted by 22-year-old James Killingback and a 16-year-old youth, who cannot be named because of his age, and dragged into an alleyway.

There he was allegedly “felled” to the ground and held down while his head was repeatedly punched and kicked.

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A number of witnesses had called the police after seeing Mr Vry being dragged into the alleyway and one of the first people to arrive on the scene was Mr Vry's, son John junior, who had gone out looking for his father when he didn't return from the chip shop.

Mr Vry was still alive at that stage but died from his injuries in hospital the following day, said Mr Khalil.

A post-mortem examination found that he had suffered a severe head injury which had caused brain damage and bleeding around the brain.

The pathologist who carried out the post mortem said Mr Vry's injuries were caused by multiple blunt force impact such as kicking or stamping or both. “The pre-existing cancer had no bearing on his death,” said Mr Khalil.

Killingback, now 23, of Denmark Road, Lowestoft and the teenager, who is now 17, have denied murdering Mr Vry on December 4 last year.

Mr Khalil told the court that Mr Vry, who had undergone surgery and chemotherapy for his cancer, had been in no condition to defend himself from the alleged attack by the defendants.

“For a reason only they knew or perhaps for no reason at all they chose a defenceless victim and literally kicked him to death,” said Mr Khalil.

He said that a witness who saw Mr Vry's alleged attackers leaving the alleyway described them as having a “swaggering Lowestoft walk” about them.

Trainers recovered from Killingback were found to have blood and hair from Mr Vry on them.

After his arrest Killingback denied being involved in the attack on Mr Vry and the teenager made no comment to questions put to him.

Mr Khalil claimed that on the night of the alleged attack the two defendants had called at a flat belonging to someone they knew and Killingback had said “let us in - we've done something stupid” but had not explained what it was.

Mr Khalil said that at the time of the alleged attack both defendants were heavy drinkers.

The trial which is expected to last four or five weeks continues today when the jury is expected to visit to the scene of the attack in Lowestoft.