Colchester rough sleeper was ‘Kicked like a football’, court hears

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 rough sleeper whose badly beaten body was found in a car park was “kicked like a football” by one of the men accused of murdering him, it has been alleged.

Heidi Kennedy, who has denied murdering Martin Dines, told a jury at Ipswich Crown Court she saw her co-defendants Darren Miller and Mark Hartley repeatedly kicking and punching him in a stairwell in St Mary’s car park in Colchester.

She said the blows, which were mainly to Mr Dines’ head, were “hard” and described Miller kicking him “like he was a football”.

She said that during the attack she heard Mr Dines making “heart wrenching” noises as Miller inflicted horrific injuries to his genitals.

She said the attack had been “stop start” and said Miller and Hartley had been drinking and smoking during the two hours they were in the car park.

She denied that Miller and Hartley had been “laughing at Mr Dines’ expense” during the attack and that after killing him they had drunk bottles of Bucks Fuzz to celebrate what they’d done.

Kennedy, 47, said Miller and Hartley went looking for Mr Dines on the night in question because he had disrespected Hartley by calling him “a fake para.”

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She denied being involved in the attack and said she was too scared to intervene or leave in case the men turned on her.

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

Miller has admitted manslaughter.

Mr Dines, 56, allegedly died as a result of punches, kicks and stamps inflicted by the defendants in three separate attacks in Head Street, Crouch Street and St Mary’s car park in Balkerne Hill.

Giving evidence Miller denied intending to kill Mr Dines or seriously injure him.

He said Kennedy was impressed that Hartley had been in the “paras” and appeared to be attracted to him.

Miller said Hartley was angry that Mr Dines had called him a “fake para” and had kicked and punched him in Head Street and Crouch Street.

He said Hartley and Kennedy had punched Mr Dines in St Mary’s car park and Hartley had bitten off part of his ear and tried to make him eat it.

Miller admitted punching Mr Dines three times and kneeing him in the head.

The trial continues.

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