Murder trial hears of bed-sit drama

A MASKED raider who forced his way into a bed-sit and suffocated the frail resident was caught "red-handed" alongside the body, a court heard.It is alleged Mark Rybialekplaced 64-year-old Brian Lamb's hands behind his back before forcing him onto his knees and pushing the widower's face into the bedclothes until he died.

A MASKED raider who forced his way into a bed-sit and suffocated the frail resident was caught “red handed” alongside the body, a court heard.

It is alleged Mark Rybialekplaced 64-year-old Brian Lamb's hands behind his back before forcing him onto his knees and pushing the widower's face into the bedclothes until he died.

A jury were told yesterday how the attack was heard by Mr Lamb's next-door neighbour, who called the police when he realised something was terribly wrong.

The neighbour, Robert Martin, then provided a “running commentary” over his mobile phone before letting officers into the building at Marine Parade East in Clacton where, it is said, they found the defendant in the room with Mr Lamb.

Rybialek, who also lived in one of the 49 bed-sits at Marine Parade East, has denied murdering Mr Lamb on January 3, claiming the former computer programmer was already dead when he found him.

The 26-year-old has also pleaded not guilty to a second charge of robbery from Mr Lamb on Boxing Day last year.

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Chelmsford Crown Court heard how Mr Lamb had lived an uneventful life until five years ago, after his wife died, when he turned to alcohol and started mixing with heavy drinkers.

Miss Patricia Lynch QC, prosecuting, said Mr Lamb sold the home he had shared with his wife and started living itinerantly, sometimes sleeping on the streets, before he moved into the accommodation at Marine Parade East.

She said Mr Lamb was an alcoholic but said there was “no harm in him” with those who knew him speaking well of him.

However, unlike many of the other residents at the bed sits, Mr Lamb had more money and assets following the sale of his house and acquired a reputation of being generous to others.

She alleged that Rybialek was among a number of people who abused Mr Lamb's generosity to borrow money, putting up the front of helping him out before then ripping him off.

But she said that Rybialek had, on more than one occasion, forced his way into Mr Lamb's room before forcing him to hand over money, leaving him terrified.

At about 6.15am on the day of the alleged murder, Mr Martin, woke early and was listening to radio four when he heard knocking and a bang before Mr Lamb then shouted, 'no, no' before he then heard an “awful” moaning noise which then decreased and stopped.

Miss Lynch said Mr Martin called the police twice before they came and when officers arrived he let them into the building with his keys.

She said Rybialek tried to keep the police out of the room but officers forced Mr Lamb's door and used CS gas to overcome the defendant.

They found Mr Lamb in a kneeling position by the side of his bed but he was already dead.

Rybialek was then searched and it is alleged officers found Mr Lamb's bankcard and keys in his pocket.

In interview he said he had been wearing the mask because he was actually planning to threaten Mr Martin because of a dispute about a gold locket.

“I was going to bosh the bloke next door and saw my man's door open with keys in the lock.

“I saw the bank card on the floor, then my man. I checked for a pulse and there was nothing and that is when the old bill turned up,” he said.

It was also alleged that on Boxing Day Mr Lamb phoned his brother, Dave, in great distress, to say that a man with a bandaged face had forced his way into his room and pushed his face into his pillow so he could not breathe.

“The masked man demanded £200 from him, telling him that he had orders to kill him,” Miss Lynch said.

Mr Lamb, who did not contact police because he was scared of the repercussions, handed over his bankcard and pin number to the masked man who then returned the card later, she alleged.

He also told his brother on the following day a note had been pushed under his door and, in childish handwriting, demanded he place money into a paper bag and put it under the door.

Miss Lynch said Rybialek's girlfriend at the time, Kelly Chater, had admitted putting gloves on and writing the note.

The trial continues.

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