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Homeless Sam Kuypers tells court he woke next to 'dead' Tim Clayton in Sandgate Road, Folkestone, as Brian Sharp denies murder

By Paul Hooper

A man – who was sleeping rough in Folkestone – has told a jury how he woke up next to a dead man.

Sam Kuypers told the hearing, where Brian Sharp is on trial for murder, that he saw the alleged victim Tim Clayton twice in his life.

"The first time was outside McDonald’s fast food restaurant about five days earlier... and the second time was when I woke up and found him lying dead next to me ”

Tim Clayton died in hospital after being found beaten in a car park

The prosecution has alleged that Sharp – who denies the charge – battered love rival Mr Clayton in the early hours of November 9 last year.

The father-of-two later died from severe head injuries as he slept rough behind Europa House, the NatWest building in Sandgate Road.

The prosecution has claimed that Sharp, of Manor Road, Folkestone, went looking for Mr Clayton and took a family pet Staffordshire bull terrier called Tyson with him.

He is alleged to have used the dog chain to pull Mr Clayton out of the recess behind the bank and attack him for 15 minutes.

Mr Kuypers told the court how he had returned to the area after drinking heavily all day and fell asleep, alongside homeless friend Barry Brewster.

Tim Clayton suffered serious head injuries in Folkestone

He told the jury: “At that time I had a very bad alcohol problem. I’d been drinking since the morning. I had 12 cans of strong beer and then hit the spirits.

"The last thing I can remember was about 5.50pm.

“I was very drunk and I don’t remember going to bed. I had been drinking with Barry and he had consumed a similar amount.”

He said he only knew he had returned to the area at "about 9pm" after watching CCTV footage which captured his return to outside WH Smiths.

Mr Kuypers added that he had woken up earlier the following morning when a van arrived to deliver items to one of the shops.

“I sat up and asked Barry because I couldn’t remember anything from the night before. I seemed to have someone lying next to me.

Folkestone man Tim Clayton was found badly injured behind Europa House. Picture: @Kent_999s

"I couldn’t see that he was lying in a pool of blood.

“I sat up and put my head up a bit. I asked Barry who it was and he said it was his friend Tim. Then we both laid back down.”

Mr Kuypers said that Barry and Tim had known each other for a few weeks but he had only met the dead man a week earlier.

Bank worker Lucy Barton told the court how she arrived at work on the Saturday morning... and found a body in the bay where she usually parked.

“It was about 8.20am and two of my colleagues were already there. I saw a man lying prone. He was on his back. I got out of the car to assist.

“I could see two other homeless gentlemen standing at the back. I went to the man on the ground. He was very badly injured.”

Ms Barton added that after a colleague had called the emergency services, the bank workers – with the help of one of the homeless men, put Mr Clayton in the recovery position.

It was then they saw a pool of blood beneath his head.

Tim Clayton suffered serious head injuries in Folkestone

“As we did the (dead) man moved his mouth. His right eye was closed. His left eye was just staring. There was no sign of life after that.”

Paramedics arrived and Mr Clayton was taken by Air Ambulance to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.

"The Crown says that, fuelled by alcohol, Sharp set upon Mr Clayton and, driven by rage and jealousy, he then subjected him to a vicious beating" - prosecutor Ian Hope

Doctors diagnosed severe brain injuries and he died the following morning, the court heard.

Prosecutor Ian Hope showed the jury CCTV footage from cameras at the recess behind the bank which he alleged showed Sharp beating Mr Clayton.

He said the dead man had been staying with alcoholic Samantha Allen, who was in a relationship with Sharp.

“The Crown says that, fuelled by alcohol, Sharp set upon Mr Clayton and, driven by rage and jealousy, he then subjected him to a vicious beating, involving repeated punches and kicking.”

The trial continues.

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