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Prostitute fleeced Steve Berry before he was killed at home in Princes Park, Chatham, murder trial hears

A prostitute fleeced a vulnerable grandfather out of thousands of pounds before he was murdered in his home, a court heard.

Her boyfriend at the time, Grant Penfold, said she would visit Steve Berry’s flat in Brompton and come out with cash from him.

Mr Penfold said in a police statement after Mr Berry’s body was found at his new address in Chatham that he estimated the woman had taken about £30,000 from the victim.

Steve Berry in his younger days
Steve Berry in his younger days

But when giving evidence at the trial of Paul Campbell, who is accused of killing Mr Berry, he told the jury: “I said £30,000 but that’s a bit much, isn’t it?”

The body of the heavy drinker who was in poor health was discovered at his flat in Kinross Close, Princes Park, on July 12 by neighbour Graham Fitzgerald, 46, who was originally arrested on suspicion of carrying out the killing.

He was released from custody following the arrest of 30-year-old Campbell, known as Noodles, whose palm and fingerprints were found on the oven in the kitchen.

Campbell claims he has never been to the flat.

Police in Kinross Close, after the body was found
Police in Kinross Close, after the body was found

A pathologist found Mr Berry, 59, died from a combination of haemorrhage and head injury from “multiple blunt impacts” and penetrating knife injuries to his head and face.

He had severe head injuries including a fractured skull and brain damage. There were stab wounds to the upper chest and defensive injuries to both hands.

The pathologist concluded that food tins, a Stanley knife or the broken handle of a milk pan could have been used as weapons.

Mr Penfold “regretted to say” the woman was his girlfriend for six years. He was living with her in Chatham when he first met Mr Berry.

Paul Campbell
Paul Campbell

He said he did not know what to say about the matter, but Judge Philip Statman told him: “You are not on trial. You are here to assist.”

Mr Penfold continued: “She is a call girl. She used to go round there and see him. I didn’t see if he ever paid her. I waited outside the flat. I never went in. She came out with money.

“It was in about 2013. I wasn’t in the best place with things I was taking. The cash was spent on drugs. She knew him from way back.”

The last time they went to the flat at Melville Court in Brompton was August 2013.

Mr Berry was found dead in his flat in Kinross Close
Mr Berry was found dead in his flat in Kinross Close

“I am ashamed to say I went to the address with her twice a week and she would take money from him,” he said.

In his statement he said: “She would also take his bank card and go to a cashpoint and withdraw cash - up to £1,000 a week.”

He said in court: “I don’t think I got those figures right. It is a bit much isn’t it? She got the PIN by looking through his paperwork which he left lying around in his flat.

“I know she also took his bank card and got rid of it. She kept that side of things to herself. The relationship ended about three years ago.”

Campbell, of Farley Close, Chatham, denies murder.

The trial continues.

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