Essex

Martin Dines: Men jailed for murdering rough sleeper

Darren Miller and Mark Hartley Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Darren Miller (left) and Mark Hartley (right) repeatedly kicked Martin Dines in the head

Two men who murdered a rough sleeper in an alleged dispute over army service have been jailed.

Martin Dines's body was found with 73 injuries in a Colchester car park in April after he was killed over claims he called one of the men a "fake Para".

Darren Miller, 46, of no fixed address, and Mark Hartley, 32, of New Kiln Road, Colchester, were found guilty of murder by a jury at Ipswich Crown Court.

They were both jailed for life with a minimum term of 23 years.

During the trial, the prosecution said 56-year-old Mr Dines suffered a string of injuries in three separate attacks in which he was punched, kicked and stamped upon.

He suffered a brain injury, broken ribs and cuts to his forehead, nose, ears and genitals, the court heard.

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Martin Dines was found dead with 73 injuries in a car park stairwell, the jury heard

Heidi Kennedy, 47, of Queen Elizabeth Way, Colchester, denied murder and was found guilty of manslaughter.

She was sentenced to five years in prison.

Sentencing the trio, Judge Martyn Levett called Hartley a "pathological liar" who was dishonourably discharged from the Army in 2010 after he tested positive for cocaine, then pretended to have served in the Parachute Regiment.

"In one way or another, the catalyst for the killing was teaching him a lesson for maligning you, Hartley," he added.

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Heidi Kennedy was jailed for five years

Mr Dines's body was found in a stairwell at St Mary's multi-storey car park on 23 April.

Lisa Peck told the court she had seen her best friend and former partner covered in blood the previous day.

Mr Dines told her Miller and Hartley had beaten him up after he had claimed Hartley "hadn't been in the Paras", the court heard.

The two men and Kennedy then approached the pair and Kennedy accused Mr Dines of telling "disgusting lies" about someone who had fought for their country.

The jury were told Kennedy punched Mr Dines, while the men repeatedly kicked his head as he cowered.

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