Tyne & Wear

Lee Irving 'exploited', mother tells murder trial

Lee Irving
Image caption Lee Irving had learning difficulties

A man with learning difficulties found beaten to death was "exploited and picked on" his whole life, his mother has told a court.

Lee Irving, 24, was found dead near a footpath in Fawdon, Newcastle, in 2015.

His mother Beverley told Newcastle Crown Court he was "called degrading names" and made a target of abuse.

Two men are accused of his murder, while two women are accused of causing or allowing his death. They all deny the charges.

Ms Irving told jurors: "Lee was bullied and picked on - people were cruel making fun of him.

"He was called degrading names all his life. I bought him decent brands of sportswear. These clothes got taken off him. He came home in other clothes. He came back in Salvation Army clothes.

"People also used to send him into shops to steal cans."

Mr Irving was living with the four defendants in Kenton Bar at the time of his death and Ms Irving told the court one of them, Nicole Lawrence, 22, frequently asked her for money.

Image copyright BBC news grab
Image caption Mr Irving was discovered lying near a path in Fawdon in Newcastle

It is alleged Mr Irving, who had learning difficulties, had been sedated rather than taken for medical treatment by the defendants, just before his death.

The court heard how his body was found about half a mile from the house with 27 rib fractures and a broken nose and jaw.

The prosecution alleges that Miss Lawrence's boyfriend James Wheatley, 29, and Barry Imray, 35, beat Mr Irving over a 10-day period at the house.

The fourth defendant is Mr Wheatley's mother Julie Mills, 51, who is accused of causing or allowing Mr Irving's death, a charge also faced - and denied - by Mr Wheatley and Mr Imray.

Both women also deny perverting the course of justice, a charge admitted by both of the other two defendants.

The trial continues.

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