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Defendant Mark Terry confessed to son Matthew Terry after brutal killing of Gary Pocock on Leysdown beach

A young man accused of involvement in a fatal beating on a Sheppey beach told a jury that his father confessed to having "a hand in it".

Matthew Terry, 21, said the shocking revelation came just hours after Gary Pocock's half-naked body was found in Leysdown last year.

Giving evidence at Maidstone Crown Court, he then said his father asked him to help in the cover-up by pretending to be Mr Pocock in a text message to his girlfriend.

Gary Pocock was found dead on a Sheppey beach
Gary Pocock was found dead on a Sheppey beach

And just four days later, with his father’s encouragement, he took part in an interview with BBC South East about Mr Pocock's death.

The 34-year-old caretaker's body had been found on the morning of August 7 by a man with a metal detector on the beach off Warden Bay Road.

It is alleged he was lured to the isolated area and suffered serious head injuries after he was attacked with one, possibly two, baseball bats as "punishment" following accusations by a teenage girl that Mr Pocock had molested her.

Terry, of Grantham Road, Manor Park, east London, had been staying for a few days at his father's holiday chalet in Sheppey.

His father, Mark Terry, 44, also of Grantham Road, Manor Park, and his best friend Christopher Bones, 21, of Dorothy Gardens, Dagenham in Essex, were also at the site.

The trio, together with Jamie West, 19, of Cliff View Gardens, Warden, and a 16-year-old boy from Sheerness, are all on trial accused of murder.

From the witness box, Matthew Terry, who wants to be a police officer, said he had returned to London when his father telephoned him on the evening of August 7.

"It felt like the conversation lasted for ages," he told the jury. "My dad phoned me and told me first of all that the body on the beach was Gary's.

"I remember I was silent. He didn't tell me too many details but he said: 'I had a hand in it.'."

Police at a beach in Warden after Gary Pocock's body was found
Police at a beach in Warden after Gary Pocock's body was found

Terry said he did not ask his father to explain what he meant.

"I was a bit lost for words really. I was a bit shocked. He said he needed me to do something for him.

"He wanted me to go to the shop and buy a SIM card and send a text to Wendy (Mr Pocock's girlfriend) saying I'm Gary, that I'm all right and I'm in the local area.

"He said do it off a SIM card that can't be traced.

"I didn't know what to say. I said: 'I don't want to be involved in anything' and he said: 'You are involved.'

"I remember those few words. I just sat there for a while. I didn't know what to do.

"It felt like forever. I just didn't know what to do. I wasn't looking at time. It was as if time just paused."

Matthew Terry was with Bones at the time. "He asked me what was the matter and I explained it to him," he continued.

"He was just like: 'What the Hell?' and neither of us said it was a good idea to get involved."

Terry said his father called him a short while later to ask whether he had done as requested.

"I think he was prompting me. I was trying to make excuses - I didn't have Wendy's number, couldn't afford a SIM card, what if I was caught on CCTV, what shop to do it?

"He wasn't annoyed but he was very assertive. He was saying: 'I need you to do it.' He sounded desperate."

Police officers guard the entrance to a beach where Gary Pocock was found dead
Police officers guard the entrance to a beach where Gary Pocock was found dead

Terry added that Bones also spoke to Mark Terry to tell him they did not want to be involved, but that Terry Snr said he had to.

The court heard Terry pulled over at a bus stop in Barking and asked to use a bus driver's mobile. He said he did not think of the consequences to anybody else.

Using the number his dad had given him for Mr Pocock's girlfriend, Terry sent the text pretending he was Mr Pocock and still alive.

He said he was shaking all over and his voice was croaky when he spoke to the bus driver, who was later arrested by police investigating Mr Pocock's death.

"Now I think I should have made a different decision and not done it but at the time that didn't go through my mind.

"He wanted me to do this and what else could I do?"

The jury was told Terry later sent his father a text indicating that he had done as asked, ending it with a smiley face.

Mark Terry texted back: "That's good son" and ended his text with two kisses.

The court also heard that Matthew Terry took part in an interview with the BBC on August 11, just hours after he had given a statement to police.

Gary Pocock was found on a private beach in Leysdown. Picture: Google Earth
Gary Pocock was found on a private beach in Leysdown. Picture: Google Earth

By this time his father had already been arrested on suspicion of murder, interviewed and released.

Matthew Terry said DCI Jon Clayden, of Kent Police, told him that someone had to speak to the BBC.

"He asked me if I wanted to do it. I said I would let him know. I remember my dad saying I should speak to the BBC."

"He wanted me to do this and what else could I do...?" - Matthew Terry

During questioning by his barrister, Alan Kent QC, Matthew Terry agreed that by sending the text he had become involved in the cover-up of Mr Pocock's death.

But he denied he had played "any part at all" in his alleged murder.

Mark Terry's barrister, Eleanor Laws QC, did not ask any questions on his behalf during cross-examination of Matthew Terry.

All five defendants also deny perverting the course of justice by making false statements to police.

The trial continues.

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