A MAN has admitted playing a part in the death of a rough sleeper who was found dead in the stairwell of a car park.

Martin Dines, 56, was discovered in St Mary’s Car Park in Balkerne Hill, Colchester, in April after being found unconscious and not breathing by a member of the public.

Police launched an investigation into his death and Heidi Kennedy, 47, Darren Miller, 46, and Mark Hartley, 32, have been charged with his murder.

But ahead of the trial at Ipswich Crown Court starting tomorrow, Miller admitted manslaughter.

Brian O’Neill QC, representing him, said although Miller had a violent altercation with Mr Dines before the rough sleeper was found dead, the injuries caused were not sufficient to kill him.

He added: “It is on the basis he took part in an assault upon the deceased which resulted in injuries, but were not serious enough to seriously hurt him or to kill him.

Miller, of no fixed address, will still stand trial charged with murder.

Kennedy, of Queen Elizabeth Way, Colchester, also admitted a charge of common assault on a woman called Lisa Peck the day before Mr Dines was discovered in April.


Scene - police at St Mary's Car Park, Colchester, after Martin Dines was found dead

Miller, Kennedy and Hartley, of New Kiln Road, Colchester, all deny murder.

A jury of five men and seven women were sworn in at court yesterday, with Simon Spence QC expected to open the case against the trio tomorrow.

The trial - which is expected to last five weeks - will be overseen by Judge Martyn Levett and will involve the jury visiting St Mary’s Car Park later this week.

After his death, Mr Dines’ father Brian paid tribute to his son.

He said: “Martin was no angel, but he couldn’t be too bad, because he always laughed at my jokes. I looked forward to seeing him, he would visit every six weeks to come for a chat.

“He always told Mary [his mother] he loved her and I wasn’t a bad old stick.

“I found him entertaining company. Martin found his lifestyle challenging but he enjoyed a challenge.”