Homeless woman was ‘strangled and her throat stamped upon’ at Eastbourne seafront, court hears

Tracy's body was found in a shelter on Eastbourne seafront
Tracy's body was found in a shelter on Eastbourne seafront

A homeless woman who lived on Eastbourne seafront was attacked and strangled by a fellow rough sleeper, a court has heard.

The body of Tracy Patsalides was found by police at 2.55am in a seaside shelter on June 12. Wayne Marshall, 38, is on trial charged with her murder.

Tributes to Tracy were laid at the seafront shelter

Tributes to Tracy were laid at the seafront shelter

Marshall, of no fixed address, is also accused of robbing his friend Graham Scott, with whom he was sharing shelter. He denies both offences.

Prosecutor Philip Bennetts opened the case at Lewes Crown Court this afternoon.

He told the jury: “The defendant, the deceased and the subject of the robbery were homeless at that time, living and sleeping near the seafront in Eastbourne.

“At 2.55am on June 12 the body of Tracy Patsalides was found in a shelter on the seafront.

He appeared at Lewes Crown Court today

He appeared at Lewes Crown Court today

“The pathological evidence suggests that she had been strangled and her throat had very likely been stamped upon.”

The jury heard that DNA links Marshall to Tracy’s body. The prosecutor told them that the pair had had sexual contact that day.

The court heard that the scientist who examined the DNA taken from the scene said the chance of another person matching the same DNA profile was one in a billion.

Marshall is also accused of attacking his friend Graham Scott and robbing him of a wallet, portable gas cooker and tablets.

The prosecutor said: “Mr Scott was told that he would receive another beating if he did not leave Eastbourne.”

Marshall admits that he and Mr Scott had a fight and he took his property, but said that he had planned to return it to him.

Marshall was arrested initially for the robbery, but after Tracy’s body was found he was cautioned on suspicion of her murder.

He responded to being arrested for murder by asking ‘what about all the other people who were there?’, the court heard.

Marshall denied having any physical contact with Tracy on the night in question.

Defence barrister Nicholas Atkinson told the jury: “You are going to have to decide what happened that night.

“The defendant says that he has no recollection of the events later in the evening.

“The defendant was definitely there in the hut [with Tracy Patsalides]. There was clearly sexual contact.

“You may be asking yourselves ‘who else was there?’ You may be asking yourselves ‘who actually killed her?’”

Mr Atkinson also said there is ‘no dispute’ that there was a fight earlier on that day between Marshall and Mr Scott, but that the prosecution needed to prove it was Marshall’s intention to permanently deprive Mr Scott of his property.

The trial continues.

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