Man accused of murder claims victim was alive when he left him at Colchester car park

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

An alcoholic accused of murdering a homeless man whose badly beaten body was found in the stairwell of a Colchester car park has told a court that the victim was still alive when he and his two co-defendants left him.

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: ARCHANT

Giving evidence at Ipswich Crown Court Darren Miller, who denies murdering 56-year-old Martin Dines but admits manslaughter, accepted that Mr Dines had been in a “bad way” but said it hadn’t crossed his mind he might die.

Miller accepted he had caused a cut to Mr Dines’ eyebrow, a mark on his cheekbone and some injuries to his neck and arms.

He claimed he had asked his co-defendant Heidi Kennedy to call an ambulance when they left St Mary’s car park in Balkerne Hill, Colchester, but she and their co-defendant Mark Hartley had said they didn’t want the police involved.

Miller claimed Hartley had suggested throwing Mr Dines from the top of the car park or a footbridge to make it look as if he had fallen.

“I wasn’t in favour of that,” said Miller.

“I believed he was alive and thought he was unconscious.

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“If he was chucked off the car park or the footbridge it would kill him.”

He told the court that after leaving the car park he and Hartley had broken into a Tesco Express shop in Crouch Street, Colchester and stole six bottles of Bucks Fizz.

He claimed that when they returned to Hartley’s flat Hartley and Kennedy had spent some time on their own in his bedroom.

Miller said Hartley had talked about fleeing the country but he had discounted the idea as he didn’t have a passport and was unable to walk very far because of problems with his feet.

Miller, 46, of no fixed address, Kennedy, 47, of Queen Elizabeth Way, Colchester, and Hartley, 32, of New Kiln Road, Colchester have all denied murdering Mr Dines on April 23.

Mr Dines allegedly died as a result of punches, kicks and stamps inflicted by Hartley, Miller and Kennedy.

It is alleged that Mr Dines was left to die after being beaten on three occasions.

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 in Balkerne Hill, Colchester.

The trial continues.