Man 'beat and stamped' housemate to death - court told

PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 January 2012

Police carrying out their investigation of the property in Alfred Street

Police carrying out their investigation of the property in Alfred Street

Archant

A WESTON man has been accused of punching and stamping his housemate to death in an argument over £20.

Martin Hill appeared at Bristol Crown Court on Tuesday accused of the murder of Paul Birch last year.

The court was told Hill let Mr Birch into the bedsit they shared in Alfred Street on May 31 and set about him with punches, before stamping on his head so hard it ‘bounced’.

He died of his injuries, which included a fractured skull and blood clot, four days later.

Michael Fitton, prosecuting, told the court that Mr Birch’s half-sister Kerry Barber was 
37-year-old Hill’s girlfriend but the two men were ‘not the best of friends’.

They had argued after Hill sold a bike to Mr Birch for £20, who then asked for a refund after it was taken from him in the street.

Mr Fitton told the court Mr Birch had returned to the property on May 31 when he had met Hill in the hall. Hill then attacked him and Mr Fitton said he gave 26-year-old Mr Birch ‘a beating and a kicking’ which left him unconscious. He then stamped on his head while he was on the floor.

The court heard that Mr Birch was taken to his bedroom, but although paramedics were twice called to treat him he refused to go to hospital.

Waking up the next day he was coughing, felt ‘spaced out’ and had a headache, and eventually he was taken to Weston General Hospital before being transferred to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol.

Surgeons detected a blood clot between his skull and brain and removed part of his skull to relieve pressure. But despite the operation and subsequent treatment, he died on June 3 at around 11.15pm.

Mr Fitton said Hill, who denies murder, had initially told police Mr Birch had fallen and hit his head on a shelf, but said he had admitted some of the attack to other housemates.

The trial is expected to last until February 8.

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