Share

Clear

Fri

13°C | 4°C

Clear spells

Sat

10°C | 2°C

Broken cloud

Sun

10°C | 9°C

Home   Canterbury   News   Article

Homeless man Lloyd Thorne pleads guilty to manslaughter of rough sleeper David Wilkes after attack at Dane John Gardens in Canterbury

21 January 2014
by Paul Hooper

A man has today changed his plea to guilty in a dramatic twist in the manslaughter trial of a rough sleeper attacked in Canterbury - as another defendant remains on trial.

The prosecution case against Lloyd Thorne was about to close when his barrister asked for the charge to be read out again.

This time - in front of the jury - the 22-year-old, of no fixed address, admitted the unlawful killing last summer.

Homeless David Wilkes died in hospital days after being attacked in a Canterbury park

Homeless David Wilkes died in hospital days after being attacked in a Canterbury park

He was then remanded in custody and a judge ordered psychiatric reports before sentencing him.

His co-accused, 50-year-old Peter Clement, who denies manslaughter, then went into the witness box at Canterbury Crown Court to give evidence.

He told the jury how he had punched and kicked Mr Wilkes after accusing him of being "a nonce" and hitting women.

Mr Wilkes was sat on a bench in Dane John Gardens when he was punched and kicked by Clement.

"I did it because he had hit women and because he swore at me," he said. "I hit him twice and kicked him once but they were not hard blows. I was drunk and we were swearing at each other."

It was then that Thorne and another man walked into the park and Liverpudlian Clement asked: "Don't I know you from the streets?"

A policeman guards the scene in Dane John Gardens in Canterbury

A policeman guards the scene in Dane John Gardens in Canterbury

But he told the jury that he did not tell Thorne Mr Wilkes had hit women, but did watch as Thorne walked over to where Mr Wilkes was sitting on the bench.

"I then saw movement which I took to be punches being thrown. David Wilkes was standing up at the time. He (Thorne) had hold of him by the collar and there was movement like him being punched in the face and head.

"I hit him twice and kicked him once but they were not hard blows. I was drunk and we were swearing at each other..." - defendant Peter Clement

"David Wilkes went down and I heard a crack," he told the jury.

His barrister, Richard Barraclough QC, asked: "Did you expect Thorne to do that?"

Clements: "No."

QC: "Did you hear him (Thorne) say: 'I'm going to kill you?'"

Clement: "I do remember him saying that."

QC: "Did you encourage him in attacking David Wilkes?"

Clement: "No."

He said that after Mr Wilkes hit the ground he went over to see if he was OK and found him unconscious.

"I shook him, but he did not respond," Clement added.


Related stories

Accused 'stood laughing during deadly attack'

Friend tells of moment man knocked out

Jury taken to scene of 'deadly attack'

Murder probe after homeless man dies


Clement, of no fixed address, then left the park and asked a passer-by to call the police. He later told officers that he had "battered" Mr Wilkes.

He denied claims made by witnesses that he was seen laughing as Thorne carried out the brutal attack.

The prosecution has alleged Clements encouraged Thorne to join in the attack, which led to Mr Wilkes receiving fatal head injuries.

The 35-year-old died in hospital six days after losing consciousness.

The trial continues.

Click here for more news from Canterbury.

Click here for more news from around the county.

Comments 

Forgotten Password?

Forgotten Username?

Don't have an account? Please Register first!

The KM Group does not moderate comments.
Please click here for our house rules.

Thank you. Your comment has been received and will appear on the site shortly.

 

Terms of Comments
We do not actively moderate, monitor or edit contributions to the reader comments but we may intervene and take such action as we think necessary, please click here for our house rules.. If you have any concerns over the contents on our site, please either register those concerns using the report abuse button, contact us here, email multimediadesk@thekmgroup.co.uk or call 01634 227989.