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Homeless man dealt 73 wounds in three attacks before death, court hears

PUBLISHED: 17:16 23 October 2018 | UPDATED: 17:17 23 October 2018

Forensics investigate the scene at St Mary's car park  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Forensics investigate the scene at St Mary's car park Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Three people are accused of a “violent and prolonged” assault which led to the death of a rough sleeper in a Colchester car park.

Martin Dines, 56, from Colchester, was found dead on Monday, April 23  Picture: PROVIDED BY FAMILYMartin Dines, 56, from Colchester, was found dead on Monday, April 23 Picture: PROVIDED BY FAMILY

Martin Dines suffered 73 wounds to his 5ft 5in frame, including three broken ribs, before dying between levels of St Mary’s car park, in Balkerne Hill, on April 23.

Prosecutors allege his injuries were the result of punches, kicks and stamps inflicted by Mark Hartley, 32, Darren Miller, 46, and Heidi Kennedy, 47, during a dispute about army credentials.

Simon Spence claimed Mr Dines was left to die after being beaten on three occasions, at three sites, between 8.30pm and 1.45am.

While all deny murder, Miller admits manslaughter without intent to seriously harm or kill.

Police cordon off St Mary's car park in Colchester after the body of Martin Dines was found  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPolice cordon off St Mary's car park in Colchester after the body of Martin Dines was found Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“Each defendant, at times, physically participated in the assaults,” alleged Mr Spence at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday.

Mr Dines, 56, was begging outside a Head Street bank when prosecutors claim the two males launched an initial attack, followed by a second in Crouch Street, where Mr Spence claimed witnesses observed a dispute over military service, with Hartley heard to say “you’re a false para” before all three are alleged to have continued the assault.

Kennedy admits punching a homeless woman, Lisa Peck, at the scene of the second alleged attack, before the trio departed to an off-licence as Mr Dines returned to the bank, where he remained for an hour until walking to the car park, said Mr Spence.

At 11.21pm, the defendants allegedly entered the car park Kennedy in a jacket previously seen on Miller emerging at 1.45am Miller in a cap and jacket previously seen on Hartley.

All were arrested that night at Hartley’s New Kiln Road flat.

Mr Spence said Hartley spent a number days hospital, where he allegedly lost composure and told a nurse: “Last time I got angry, I bit someone’s ear off and made them swallow it.”

A postmortem found Mr Dines was missing part of his ear, said Mr Spence, who claimed Hartley blamed Miller when asked to sign a statement to verify his comment.

Mr Dines was four times the legal drink-driving limit at the time of his death, said Mr Spence.

“A brain injury consistent with blunt trauma, likely to have resulted in Mr Dines going into an unconscious state, would have put him at risk of inadequate respiration, exacerbated by intoxication,” he added.

The trial continues.

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