Homeless man had ear bitten off in attack, court told

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

A Colchester woman accused of murdering a rough sleeper, whose badly beaten body was found in a car park, allegedly saw one of her co-defendants bite off the victim’s ear lobe and try to get him to swallow it.

Giving evidence at Ipswich Crown Court Heidi Kennedy said she saw 46-year-old Darren Miller

bend down to 56-year-old Martin Dines’ ear in a stairwell in St Mary’s car park in Balkerne Hill, Colchester, and then come away.

“It was horrible,” said Kennedy.

She described Miller putting his fingers in Mr Dines’ mouth in a bid to make him swallow the piece of ear he had bitten off.


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“Mr Dines was spitting it out,” she added.

Kennedy, 47, told the court that Miller had wanted to go looking for Mr Dines after an earlier argument in which Mr Dines had called Hartley “a fake para.”

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She had been with Miller and Hartley when they found Mr Dines sitting in a stairwell in St Mary’s car park in Balkerne Hill with blood on his face from two earlier alleged attacks.

She described Miller repeatedly punching Mr Dines in the face and said Mr Dines had been “cowering”.

Kennedy claimed that during the attack Miller had banged Mr Dines’ head against the wall and had inflicted horrific injuries to his genitals.

She described screaming at Miller to stop when she allegedly saw him stamping on Mr Dines’s neck but he hadn’t taken any notice.

Kennedy said she believed Mr Dines was dead when she, Miller and their co-defendant Mark Hartley left the car park.

She said Hartley had kicked and punched Mr Dines but said she hadn’t taken any part in the attack.

Kennedy, of Queen Elizabeth Way, Colchester, Hartley, 32, of New Kiln Road, Colchester, and Miller, of no fixed address, have all denied murdering Mr Dines on April 23.

Miller has admitted a less serious charge of manslaughter.

Mr Dines allegedly died as a result of punches, kicks and stamps inflicted by Hartley, Miller and Kennedy during an argument about army credentials.

Simon Spence, prosecuting, claimed Mr Dines was left to die after being beaten on three occasions, on the night in question.

The first two attacks allegedly happened in Head Street and Crouch Street with the final alleged attack taking place in St Mary’s car park.

The trial continues.

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