COUNCIL bosses have confirmed plans to build walls in car park stairwells were put in place before the death of a rough sleeper.

Martin Dines was found not breathing in a stairwell of St Mary’s Car Park in Colchester town centre on Monday, April 23.

Paramedics were called to the scene but sadly, could not save his life.

Concerns have been raised the building of walls in the council-owned car park was purely to stop rough sleepers congregating there in the wake of Mr Dines’ death.

But the plans for the new structures - which will include murals and LED lights - were announced by the authority on April 10, two weeks before Mr Dines died.

A spokesman for the council said: “Work to close-off spaces under the stairwells forms part of an ongoing programme of improvements to St Mary’s and St John’s car parks that are intended to enhance the environment for car park users, and which are due to be completed by the end of the summer.”

The works will see two stairwells in the car park painted with art inspired by Colchester’s history including the Trinovantes tribe, Boudicea and Roman soldiers and will use Celtic design and mosaic patterns.

Gazette: Tributes - Brian Dines paid tribute to son Martin

Tragic - Martin Dines

Police launched a murder investigation in the wake of Mr Dines’ death.

Darren Miller, 45, of no fixed abode, Heidi Kennedy, 46, of Queen Elizabeth Way, Colchester, and Mark Hartley, 32, of New Kiln Road, Colchester, have been charged and are due to appear at Chelmsford Crown Court for a plea and trial preparation hearing next Friday.

Friends said Mr Dines, 56, - who was often nicknamed Freddie - was a gentle man who “would not hurt a fly.”

His father Brian said he often made time to visit him and his mother Mary.

He said: “I found him entertaining company.

“Martin found his lifestyle challenging but he enjoyed a challenge.”