A MAN died while reporting a break-in committed by his neighbour to police, a court heard.

Colchester Magistrates’ Court heard Anthony Lines had “lost his head” after he had exchanged offensive remarks with Edward McMartin.

They lived next to each other in a manor house converted into flats in Courtauld Road, Braintree.

Lines, 35, kicked Mr McMartin’s door off the hinges and allegedly threatened him, in the early hours of yesterday.

Mr McMartin, 55, fled and flagged down police officers but died 45 minutes later after suffering heart problems.

Lines admitted using violence to secure entry to the property and criminal damage but denied having a weapon or any intent to harm the victim when he appeared at Colchester Magistrates' Court this afternoon. 

Kathy Wilson, prosecuting, said: “Mr McMartin called 999 just after 1am on Wednesday and said there was a male trying to break into the house.

“He fled the property six minutes later and flagged down two police officers, telling them: ‘Tony broke into my room. I think he had a knife.’

“Police said his demeanour was calm but slightly shaken.

“Mr McMartin also said ‘Tony’ was kicking his door in saying, ‘Have some of this’ and reaching into his pocket for something.”

Lines had lived at the property for about three months. Previously, his cousin had left having had disagreements with Mr McMartin.

Ralph Pigott, mitigating, said: “It’s hard to talk about but clearly there was bad blood between the deceased and Lines.

“The defendant explained the floorboards creaked as he walked near Mr McMartin’s room to go to the toilet, at which point the deceased shouted rude comments and there was an argument through the door.”

Ms Wilson said: “Lines told officers he felt sick that he’d died.”

She said Lines had drank some cider and ranked his level of intoxication a three out of ten.

He suffers with anxiety which he had previously taken medication for.

Mr Pigott urged the bench to put other matters “out of their minds” and described his client’s behaviour as “reckless at best”.

Brenda Pearce, chairman of the bench, said: “You used a high level of violence and damage was caused.

“We’ve also considered your previous convictions which takes us over the custody threshold.”

However, magistrates sentenced Lines to a total of four weeks in jail but suspended the sentence for a year.

He must complete 100 hours of unpaid work and pay £300 compensation.

Lines is still on bail having been arrested on suspicion of murder.