Weston murderer jailed for life

PUBLISHED: 08:24 09 May 2011

Bradley Bessant

Bradley Bessant

police

A 20-YEAR-OLD who beat a man to death in Weston has been jailed for life.

Bradley Bessant was accused of murder after Mark Pinnell was found dead at the house they shared in Ashcombe Road in 2009.

Bessant was found guilty on Wednesday after a five-week trial at Bristol Crown Court and was told he must serve a minimum of 14 years.

A total of 597 days were taken off because of the time he has spent on remand so he must now serve a minimum of 12 years and 133 days before being eligible for parole.

The jury at Bristol Crown Court heard that Bessant, formerly of Clevedon, had caused multiple injuries to 39-year-old Mr Pinnell at the eight-bedroom house after an argument over a bottle of vodka.

When Mr Pinnell’s body was found by paramedics in the early hours of September 10, his body was found to have had all-but-two of its ribs broken, some in three or four places, multiple bruises and a ruptured liver.

Earlier in the trial, opening the case for the prosecution, Adam Vaitlingham said the argument had started after Mr Pinnell had given Bessant money to buy vodka while they were drinking in the room of another resident, Jack Wood, and had then accused him of stealing it.

Bessant, who pleaded not guilty, became violent, saying to Mr Pinnell: “If you talk to me like that again I’ll do you, you’re lucky you’re not in your own room or I’d kill you.”

Mr Vaitlingham then said Bessant, who has learning difficulties, punched Mr Pinnell in the head, leading him to tell him to “---- off” – something that Mr Wood, a witness in the trial, said was “like signing his own death warrant”.

Mr Vaitlingham said that another resident, Roxi Lewis, who had tried to calm Bessant down, said when she walked into Mr Wood’s room, she had seen the defendant repeatedly punch Mr Pinnell in the head and face, and kick him.

Bessant then dragged him by the ankles onto the landing, and let him fall down the stairs, before dragging him into his room on the ground floor.

After realising that Pinnell was dying, Bessant then called an ambulance at 1.23am, and told police that he had come home with the injuries after being beaten up in Weston.

But in a second interview he changed his story, and admitted to police that he had argued with Mr Pinnell and punched him.

Closing his opening statement, Mr Vaitlingham said: “Although Bradley Bessant was undoubtedly a troubled young man, and knew problems in his life, he had no need to resort to murder.”

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