A man accused of murdering a pensioner in a pet shop more than 20 years ago, admitted the killing to a friend at the time, a court has heard.
Stuart Jenkins, 41, of Ossett in West Yorkshire, denies murdering Arthur Brumhill, 76, in Northampton in 1993.
Mr Brumhill was found dead in the basement of Denton's pet and garden shop. He had 26 injuries and his body had been covered in straw.
Mr Jenkins was arrested at the time but released because of a lack of evidence.
He was rearrested and charged in May 2015 after Northamptonshire Police reviewed the case.
Northampton Crown Court heard Mr Brumhill, a "gentle, timid" man was "brutally beaten to death" during a robbery at the shop where he worked on Wellingborough Road on 21 January 1993.
He died from multiple injuries including skull fractures, and his body was found coated in straw the following morning by another member of staff.
Mr Jenkins, who was 17 at the time of the alleged killing, was questioned in connection with the murder in 1993 but jurors were told police took no further action as there was no forensic evidence linking him to the scene.
However, the former army sergeant was rearrested after his fingerprints were identified on a bag of straw found in the shop after the murder.
The court heard he had worked there for six weeks, but left as he "failed to impress his employer".
James House QC, prosecuting, told the jury Mr Jenkins admitted to a friend at the time that he had been involved in the killing but when he was re-arrested, told police it was "said in jest".
The trial continues.