Mark Hartley, Darren Miller, Heidi Kennedy Essex Police

Three Jailed For Killing Homeless Man After Dispute Over Army Service

Mark Hartley had regularly and fraudulently boasted about having served in the Parachute Regiment.

Mark Hartley, Darren Miller, Heidi Kennedy Essex Police

Darren Miller, Mark Hartley and Heidi Kennedy (Image: Essex Police)

Three people have been jailed for killing a rough sleeper in Colchester after claims the victim called one of them a "fake Para".

Martin Dines suffered up to 70 separate injuries in the attack in the stairwell of a multi-storey car park, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Judge Martyn Levett said Mr Dines was kicked, punched and stamped on and had part of his ear bitten off in the attack on April 22 last year.

Mark Hartley and Darren Miller were found guilty of murder following an earlier trial and have each been jailed for life with a minimum term of 23 years.

Judge Levett said Hartley was dishonourably discharged from the Army in 2010 after he tested positive for cocaine, then pretended to have served in the Parachute Regiment.

He described Hartley as a "pathological liar" who lied about his service history, and that it "niggled" Hartley that Mr Dines allegedly called him a "fake Para". Judge Levett said:

"In one way or another, the catalyst for the killing was teaching him a lesson for maligning you, Hartley."

Heidi Kennedy was convicted of manslaughter following an earlier trial and jailed for five years.

The victim's brother, David Dines, told the court: "My brother Martin was an intelligent, friendly, kind man with lots of talents who was loved by many.

"Unfortunately, he was an alcoholic - an addiction he struggled with throughout his adult life."

The court heard in mitigation that Hartley was "left scarred" by his experience in the Army, that Miller was living on the streets at the time and showed remorse, and that Kennedy was an alcoholic who played a "minor role".