Bomb expert Mark Manning 'murdered over debt'

Mark Manning
Image caption Jurors heard there was a row over an unpaid debt owed to Mark Manning

A former bomb disposal expert was bludgeoned to death in a garage and his body dumped, jurors have been told.

Lewes Crown Court heard Mark Manning was killed in Sussex in April 2014 following a row over a debt.

It is claimed Colin Gale inflicted the fatal blows and co-defendant Stewart Robertson helped dispose of the body.

Mr Gale, of Worthing, denies murder but has admitted preventing lawful burial. Mr Robertson, of Portslade, denies preventing lawful burial of the body.

The court was told a row over an unpaid debt owed to Mr Manning ended with Mr Gale deciding to "finish him off" at P&B Car Sales garage in Western Road, Lancing.

Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC said Mr Gale, 40, of Offington Lane, then enlisted Mr Robertson, 50, of St Aubyns Road, to help dispose of the body.

Jurors heard Mr Manning's remains were found after Mr Robertson was arrested in May 2016. He told police the corpse had been dumped on land at Hampshire Hill, near Slaugham.

'Blood on wall'

Mr Atkinson said Mr Manning had two mobile phones and the last contact on one of them was a text message between him and Mr Gale on 19 April 2014.

He said Mr Gale told police he had dropped the victim at Worthing railway station that morning.

But Mr Atkinson said: "There is no evidence that he did such a thing."

Telephone analysis revealed both men were in the area of the garage in Lancing and blood spots on the wall of the garage matched Mr Manning's DNA, he added.

The court heard Mr Gale told his former wife, Chloe Birchley, he had killed the father-of-two.

Mr Manning, 54, had worked for the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) which removes landmines and other hazards in some of the world's poorest countries.

The trial continues.

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