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Jury selected and sworn in for trial of trio accused of killing rough sleeper

PUBLISHED: 15:21 22 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:32 22 October 2018

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

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

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Jurors have been sworn in for the trial of three people accused of murdering a 56-year-old Colchester man.

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 was found badly injured and not breathing in a stairwell of St Mary’s car park, Balkerne Hill, on the morning of Monday, April 23.

Despite the efforts of paramedics, the 56-year-old – who was believed to have been a rough sleeper – died at the scene.

On Monday, 44 potential jurors were narrowed down to a panel of 12 and four alternates able to commit the next five weeks for the trial of Mark Hartley, Darren Miller and Heidi Kennedy at Ipswich Crown Court.

The group of nine women and seven men were asked to confirm they had no connection with the defendants or a list of witnesses concerned in the case.

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

Judge Martyn Levett also ordered the jury to refrain from carrying out any of their own research into the case, which is expected to open with a statement from the prosecution on Tuesday, followed by a visit to the alleged crime scene and evidence to be heard later in the week.

Hartley, 32, of New Kiln Road, Colchester; Miller, 45, of no fixed address; and Kennedy, 46, of Queen Elizabeth Way, Colchester, all deny murdering Mr Dines on Sunday, April 22 the day before he was found, just before 9am.

St Mary’s car park was closed for investigations to take place but reopened the following evening.

Mr Dines, also known as ‘Freddie’, was believed to have been a member of the town’s rough sleeping community.

Detectives investigated reports of an assault in the Crouch Street and Head Street area of Colchester at around 8.45pm on April 22 – the night before Mr Dines was found. Police made four arrests over the ensuing days charging Kennedy on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 25, Miller the following morning and Hartley the following Monday.

Following Mr Dines’ death, police officers and PCSOs carried out joint patrols with Colchester Borough Council zone wardens and worked with the Safer Colchester Partnership to support the community, which Chief Inspector Shaun Kane said had been shaken by the tragedy.

Mr Dines’ father Brian issued a tribute to his son, saying: “Martin found his lifestyle challenging, but he enjoyed a challenge.”

Prosecutor Simon Spence is due to open the case against Kennedy, Miller and Hartley on Tuesday.

All three remain in custody.

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