A MAN was violently beaten to death before his body was put in a wheelie bin and set alight in the grounds of a church in Leeds, a murder trial heard.
Firefighters discovered the body of 60-year-old Michael Ayres after being called to tackle the blaze outside St Augustine’s Church, Hyde Park.
Three men are on trial at Leeds Crown Court accused of murdering Mr Ayres.
The court heard that during the investigation police found CCTV footage of Stuart Jarvis, Andrew Jenkins and Stewart Malnieks pushing a wheelie through the streets of Hyde Park shortly before the death.
The prosecution claim all three men were involved in the murder of Mr Myres before stealing property, food and alcohol from his home.
Kama Melly, QC, told the jury all three men had a “common purpose” in disposing of the evidence, including setting fire to Mr Ayres’s body in order the cover up what they had done.
Jarvis, 50, and 38-year-old Jenkins, both of Heights West, Armley, and Malnieks, 61, of Midland Road, Hyde Park, all deny murder.
Jarvis and Malnieks also plead not guilty to perverting the course of justice.
The jury was told Jenkins has pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.
Miss Melly told the jury that Mr Ayres and Malnieks lived in bedsits within the same property on Midland Road.
The prosecutor said it appeared that the three defendants met up with Mr Ayres during the course of January 15 and he was subjected to a “sustained forceful attack”.
Later that evening Jarvis and Jenkins were caught on CCTV a few streets away carrying a TV which is claimed belonged to Mr Ayres.
The following day Jenkins took a games console and a Sony boombox which had belonged to Mr Ayres to a Cash Generator store in Armley.
The jury was told witnesses saw the three men looking for and obtaining a wheelie bin.
Miss Melly said the men were also seen starting a fire in a yard near to Malnieks’s home and burning clothing.
Jenkins was also caught on camera buying firelighters at a Sainsbury’s store.
After the fire the three men went and sat on the steps of Hyde Park Picture House and drank bottles of Lambrini which they had taken from My Ayres’s home. The jury heard pouches of cat food were also taken from Mr Ayres’s home
Jarvis and Jenkins returned to the scene of the fire and were arrested after they began shouting at members of the fire service.
A post mortem showed Mr Ayres had died as a result of multiple injuries to his head, neck and body.
Miss Melly said the injuries indicated that Mr Ayres’s had been subjected to significant blunt force trauma consistent with being punched, kicked and stamped upon.
Forensic officers discovered Mr Ayres’s blood in three different areas of Malnieks bedsit and on clothing belonging to Jarvis and Jenkins.
Miss Melly added: “The defendants were interviewed and asked for their explanations.
“They were asked about the murder of Mr Ayres and the disposal of the body.
“Their accounts are numerous and contradictory and they are the defendants all blaming anyone but themselves for what happened.”
The trial continues.