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Daniel Fox cleared of taking part in killing of James O'Rourke in Chatham

A man has walked free after a jury failed for the second time to decide whether he was guilty of the manslaughter of a homeless man found dumped in a stairwell.

A judge at Maidstone Crown Court formally acquitted Daniel Fox of the killing of James O'Rourke as the jury was unable to reach a verdict following 30 hours of deliberations.

It comes after Fox, 36, was found not guilty of murder earlier this week.

James O'Rourke
James O'Rourke

He had been arrested after 29-year-old Mr O'Rourke's body, clad in just boxer shorts, was discovered on a stairwell at Caulkers House in Chatham at about 7.20am on Bank Holiday Monday, August 28, 2017.

At a trial last year, another jury failed to agree a verdict on Fox, of no fixed address, who denied the charges.

Prosecutor Philip Bennetts QC: "This the second trial where a jury couldn't agree and almost a third trial.

"We do not seek to try and persuade the court if there should be another trial and we formerly offer no evidence."

Mr O'Rourke had been beaten, stabbed and tied up before being taken to the stairwell in a shopping trolley.

James O'Rourke’s body was found on a stairwell at Caulkers House in Chatham. Picture: Google
James O'Rourke’s body was found on a stairwell at Caulkers House in Chatham. Picture: Google

The victim had multiple injuries to his head, neck, face, torso and limbs, including eight fractured ribs and a 32.5cm-long double incision down his chest and stomach.

He had ligature marks where he had been tied up around his ankles and thighs with twine.

The previous jury returned the unanimous verdict of guilty to murder on Neil Taylor after deliberating for 42-and-a-half hours spread over seven days.

The 37-year-old from Shipwrights Avenue, Chatham will be sentenced next week.

Another defendant, a 35-year-old woman, was acquitted of murder and manslaughter.

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

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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