Murder accused admits ‘punching and kicking’ victim

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 rough sleeper whose body was found in a stairwell of a Colchester car park has admitted punching and kicking him in the face.

Giving evidence at Ipswich Crown Court, Mark Hartley denied biting off part of 56-year-old Martin Dines’ ear and said the majority of the man’s injuries were caused by his co-defendant Darren Miller

Hartley, who told the court he had been in the Scots Guards for two years and had wanted to join the Parachute Regiment but had been discharged because of drugs, said he had kicked Mr Dines in the face once with his left leg and twice with his right.

“They weren’t as hard as you kick a football but hard enough to hurt but not hard enough to break his jaw,” said Hartley.

He accepted hitting Mr Dines on the nose and described it as a “jab” rather than a punch.

Hartley, who described himself as an alcoholic, said that when he was drunk he sometimes didn’t know what he was doing.

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

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His badly beaten body was found in a stairwell at St Mary’s car park in Balkerne Hill, Colchester 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.

It is alleged he 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.

Giving evidence, Hartley told the court that he met Kennedy for the first time in a graveyard in Colchester in the hours before Mr Dines’ alleged murder.

He denied that Kennedy had visited his flat in the weeks before the alleged murder and that he had a sexual relationship with her.

He also admitted lying to police during interviews after his arrest.

The trial continues.

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