John Kiernan 'bound, gagged and beaten to death', court hears

A vulnerable man with a drink problem was bound with electric cable, gagged with socks and beaten to death with a brick, a court has been told.

Phillip Haslam, 36, of Gloucester Close in Kettering, admits burglary but denies murdering John Kiernan, 62, on 19 September 2011.

Mr Kiernan's body was found two weeks later at his home in Kettering, Northampton Crown Court heard.

His body was severely decomposed, the jury heard.

'Repeatedly burgled'

The court was told Mr Kiernan was found dead by police at his Havelock Street home in October. He had been bound with electric cable and gagged.

Mr Haslam is being tried alongside Christine Windle, 37, of Duke Street in Kettering. She is accused of burgling John Kiernan's home between 31 August and 8 September 2011. She denies the charge.

David Herbert, prosecuting, told the jury Mr Haslam, who was also well known locally as "Ratty" and "Weasel", repeatedly burgled Mr Kiernan's home in the run-up to his death and that Ms Windle had accompanied him on at least one occasion.

He said the motive for the burglaries for both defendants was to obtain money to purchase Class A drugs, in particular heroin.

The court heard Mr Kiernan was vulnerable and had a drink problem.

Blood on trainers

The prosecution said on the night of the murder, Mr Haslam attended Mr Kiernan's flat seeking money, but, being unable to find any, ordered him to sign a blank cheque.

During the visit, Mr Herbert said, Mr Haslam tied up Mr Kiernan's hands and feet and gagged him with socks. He was said to have been hit on the head with a brick and left to die.

The blow to the head and a partial blockage of the airways caused Mr Kiernan's death, the court heard.

The prosecution said Mr Kiernan's blood was found on one of Haslam's trainers and on a jacket at his home.

The trial continues.

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