Victim ‘mocked’ by teen group

A man was mocked by a group of teenagers in the moments before he was allegedly beaten to death, a court was told.

Lewes Crown Court heard Christopher Poole had retaliated after having the “mickey” taken out of him as they thought he appeared drunk as he walked his dogs to a store to buy a bottle of vodka.

The group of teens, aged between 10 and 15 at the time of the incident, were outside Premier convenience store in the Hydneye, Eastbourne.

It was outside the store that Mr Poole was punched to the ground and kicked in the head as the argument with the teens escalated in August 2012, the court heard.

He later died of serious head injuries at Eastbourne District General Hospital.

Shane Noble, 19, of no fixed abode, is accused of the 46-year-old’s murder alongside a 15 year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons. They both deny murder.

A witness, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court Mr Poole was walking away from the group before he returned when he was abused.

The teen said, “A man arrived with two dogs [at the store]. He was sort of stumbling toward the shop; he looked drunk.

“I was taking the mickey out of him when he came out of the shop because he was wobbling about a bit.

“He untied his dogs off the wall, then he started walking down the path with his dogs and he got to the top of the path and I shouted ‘willy head’ to him and he started walking back to us.”

The court heard how Mr Poole had previously argued with the young defendant before walking off.

As he returned someone shouted for Mr Noble, who was in the flats above the shop, the court heard.

Mr Noble is then accused of punching Mr Poole in the stomach causing him to fall to the floor. He then got up and walked back toward the group where he suffered another blow to the side of the head from the young defendant, it is alleged.

The witness then told how he saw Mr Noble kick Mr Poole in the head as he lay in the “recovery position”.

But defence barrister Paul Bogan disputed this. He said, “Your memory of that night is poor. You and the boys were being cheeky to this man. He appeared drunk and you were taking the mickey and he was responding.”

He then suggested the teen was covering up for somebody and was mistaken about what he saw. The youth denied this.

The trial continues.