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Jury retires in James O'Rourke, Shipwrights Avenue, Chatham, murder trial

By Paul Hooper

The jury has retired to consider its verdict in the case of a man accused of murdering another man who was discovered lying face down on stairs in a block of flats.

James O'Rourke's half-naked body was discovered dumped in a block of flats in Chatham after being bound with twine, it has been alleged during the trial being held at Maidstone Crown Court.

The 29-year-old was found wearing just a pair of boxer shorts when his body was found in the block of flats in Chatham on August 28, 2017.

James O'Rourke was found dead in a block of flats in Chatham
James O'Rourke was found dead in a block of flats in Chatham

Prosecutor Philip Bennetts QC told a jury at Maidstone Crown Court the victim was discovered lying face down on stairs between floors four and five at Caulkers House in Shipwrights Avenue.

Daniel Fox, 36, of no fixed address, has denied taking part in his murder.

Mr Bennetts said O'Rourke had 27 separate head and neck injuries as well as multiple fractures to his ribs.

He told the jury that green twining was discovered nearby which Fox is alleged to have used to tie Mr O'Rourke arms and thighs.

The jury also visited the scene where Mr O'Rourke body was discovered during the trial.

James O'Rourke was found dead in the stairwell of the flats in Shipwrights Avenue
James O'Rourke was found dead in the stairwell of the flats in Shipwrights Avenue

Fox was seen on August 31 in a pub called Jolly Caulkers in Batchelor Street and described by a bar worker as "looking a mess".

He is alleged to have claimed: "I was out of it. I was out of it."

He was arrested by police on suspicion of murder on September 1, 2017 and the prosecution allege Mr O'Rourke was accused of stealing drugs and attacked.

To read more of our in depth coverage of all of the major trials coming out of crown and magistrates' courts across the county, click here.

For information on how we can report on court proceedings, click here.

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