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Home Sheerness News Article
A 19-year-old man refused to be involved in an attack on a man accused of molesting a girl, a murder trial heard.
Dale Thacker told police he was at a holiday chalet on the Happy Valley site, in Leysdown, when the idea of beating up Gary Pocock was discussed.
It had been suggested the 34-year-old had behaved inappropriately towards the girl, although it was never reported to police.
Mr Thacker was one of five men who, together with a teenage boy, met at the holiday home.
But a jury at Maidstone Crown Court heard he told the others he would not be involved "without proof".
In a recorded interview with police, Mr Thacker said: "I said: 'I'm not on this, I'm not doing this.' I didn't know if it was true or not. I wanted to know it was 100% true.
"I don't agree with paedophilia, but I didn't know if it was true."
It is alleged Mark Terry, 44, organised the meeting to discuss Mr Pocock's "punishment" and then - with the help of his son - Matthew, 21, family friend Christopher Bones, also 21, and the 15-year-old boy, lured Mr Pocock to a secluded part of the beach off Warden Bay Road in the early hours of August 7 last year.
He was then, said the prosecution, savagely attacked with punches, kicks and two baseball bats before his battered body, which was naked from the waist down, was discovered a few hours later by a man out walking with his metal detector.
The court heard Mr Thacker's friend, 19-year-old Jamie West, was also at the chalet meeting and - although not part of the group accused of attacking Mr Pocock - allegedly provided them with one of the bats.
However, Mr Thacker told police there had been no talk of weapons, nor of killing Mr Pocock, at the meeting.
"Whoever done this has gone OTT," he said. "The idea was to beat the geezer up and get him off the site. That's what I thought the plan was."
"He said we should beat him up. I said he had to get cold, hard evidence because I couldn't go on word of mouth..." - Dale Thacker
He said he was with West when they were told Mark Terry wanted to talk to them.
Mr Thacker said Terry was a friend and he and West regularly visited him at his chalet.
However, on this occasion they were asked to go to a second one Terry owned, which was empty and being redecorated at the time.
Matthew Terry, Bones and the youth were also at the meeting.
Mr Thacker claimed Mark Terry said Mr Pocock, who lived in Barking, east London, but was also staying in a holiday chalet, needed to be "beaten up, warned off and sent back to London".
"He didn't say nothing about killing him," added Mr Thacker. "He said we should beat him up. I said he had to get cold, hard evidence because I couldn't go on word of mouth."
Mr Thacker said the others appeared to be "contemplating" the suggestion, but no one said anything to him when he refused.
The court heard he then shook Mark Terry's hand before leaving with West and the youth.
Mr Thacker also told police when he was interviewed two weeks after Mr Pocock's alleged murder he did not believe his friend was involved in the attack.
"I don't think there was any possibility of Jamie being there and doing anything. I don't reckon he even knows anything about it. He would have told me."
Mark Terry and Matthew Terry, both of Grantham Road, Manor Park, east London, Bones, of Dorothy Gardens, Dagenham, Essex, and the teenager, who is from Sheerness, all deny murder and perverting the course of justice by making false statements to police.
West, of Cliff View Gardens, Warden, also denies murder.
Mark Terry's wife, Lisa Terry, 32, also of Grantham Road, Manor Park, denies perverting the course of justice by telling a witness to withhold information from police.
The trial continues.
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