AN alcoholic accused of murdering his friend said he was ashamed of punching and kicking him in the head ahead of his death.

Rough sleeper Martin Dines, 56, was found dead in a stairwell in St Mary’s car park in Balkerne Hill, Colchester, in April.

Heidi Kennedy, 47, Darren Miller, 46, and Mark Hartley, 32, are all charged with his murder.

Miller has told the jury at Ipswich Crown Court he and Mr Dines had been friends for up to 20 years and often drank together because they were both homeless. He has admitted manslaughter.

But he blames Hartley for injuring the victim’s genitals, slamming his head against a wall and repeatedly stamping on his neck because he was so angry Mr Dines had said he was a fake paratrooper.

Miller has accepted he punched Mr Dines once in Crouch Street and twice in the car park, where he also kneed him in the head.

He said: “I’m ashamed of it – that’s why I pleaded guilty to manslaughter.”

“I’m a big guy, I punched him really hard. He was bleeding everywhere.”

Richard Sutton QC, representing Hartley, suggested Miller’s plea was tactical.

Miller said: “Whatever happens in this trial I am going to prison for a long time anyway.

“I am going to be punished for what I have done but I didn’t murder him.

“I’m a big guy punching a little man in the head really and threw him around.”

Mr Sutton asked why Miller had told Kennedy he had been in the Army when he had not.

He said: “Just because he was saying his para thing and I felt left out.

“What is a trained killer doing in a car park with homeless people stamping on his head?

“It is bang out of order – he has killed a guy. I’m a fake – he’s a real soldier. He’s a solider and a trained killer.

“He lost it because Martin was a strong man who was stubborn. Wasn’t it Mark?”

Miller was warned by Judge Martyn Levett for addressing Hartley directly during his evidence.

Kennedy, of Queen Elizabeth Way, Colchester, Miller, of no fixed address, and Hartley, of New Kiln Road, Colchester, all deny murder.

But Kennedy has admitted assaulting Lisa Peck, a friend of Mr Dines, on the same night.

She blames Miller for the worst of the violence.

n The trial continues.