Murder accused claimed arrest was because he was a ‘trained killer’

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 man accused of murdering a rough sleeper asked if he had been arrested because he had been in the Army, a court has heard.

Mark Hartley was being booked in at the custody suite at Colchester police station when he told officers he had been in Afghanistan and Iraq and suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Ipswich Crown Court heard.

In CCTV footage played to the court on Wednesday Hartley asked officers if he was being accused of murdering 56-year-old Martin Dines, whose badly beaten was found in a stairwell in St Mary’s car park in Colchester in April. because he had been in the Army.

Officers explained to him that he had not been arrested because of his occupation.

Hartley, who spent five days in hospital following his arrest suffering from the affects of alcohol withdrawal, also said: “I used to kill people in war for this country. I’m accused of killing a civilian. It’s disgusting.”

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Hartley, who told officers he sometimes drank three bottles of vodka a day, refused to allow his photograph to be taken at the police station.

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

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Miller has admitted a less serious charge of manslaughter.

It has been alleged that Mr Dines 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.

A witness allegedly heard Hartley accuse Mr Dines of being “a false para”.

On Wednesday the court heard that a car park attendant who saw Mr Dines lying in a stairwell in St Mary’s car park on the night of his death described his body being covered in a piece of cardboard from the top of his head to below his knees and thought it had been placed there to keep him warm.

The trial continues.

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