Jury continues deliberations over woman accused of murder

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

Martin Dines, 56, from Colchester, was found dead on Monday, April 23. Picture: PROVIDED BY FAMILY - Credit: Archant

The jury in the trial of a woman accused of murdering a homeless man whose badly beaten body was found in a stairwell at a Colchester car park is expected to continue its deliberations next week.

Before Ipswich Crown Court is Heidi Kennedy, 47, of Queen Elizabeth Way, Colchester, who has denied murdering 56-year-old Martin Dines.

Mr Dines’ body was found at St Mary’s car park in Balkerne Hill, Colchester on April 23.

The jury retired to consider its verdicts last Monday and will return to court next Monday, December 10, to continue its deliberations.

Also before the court were Mark Hartley, 32, of New Kiln Road, Colchester and Darren Miller, 46, of no fixed address, who denied murdering Mr Dines but were unanimously found guilty by the jury on Thursday.

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Mr Dines died as a result of punches, kicks and stamps inflicted by Hartley and Miller and, allegedly, Kennedy during three attacks as a result of a dispute about Army credentials.

Mr Dines was begging outside a bank in Head Street when he was attacked by Miller and Hartley, followed by a second attack in Crouch Street.

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When Mr Dines body was found in St Mary’s car park he had more than 70 injuries, including bruising and abrasions all over his body, three fractured ribs, a fractured nose, injuries to his genitals and part of his ear was missing.

Forensic pathologist Benjamin Swift told the court that a blood sample taken from Mr Dines showed he had 323 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood - the legal limit is 80 milligrammes.

Dr Swift said that in his opinion the cause of Mr Dines’ death was traumatic head injuries, with acute alcohol intoxication a contributing factor.

He said the missing part of Mr Dines’ ear was more in keeping with a bite rather than a stamp.

During the trial the court heard that Hartley spent some days in hospital following his arrest where he allegedly lost his temper and told a nurse: “Last time I got angry I bit someone’s ear off and made them swallow it.”

When a police officer asked him to sign her notebook to confirm what he had said Hartley alleged changed his story and blamed Miller.

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