Ricardo Pisano trial: Michael Polding 'bled dry then murdered'

Michael Polding
Image caption Michael Polding died from "blunt force trauma" to his chest, the court heard

A self-confessed rent boy bled a 62-year-old man dry financially and then murdered him before leaving him to "rot", a court has heard.

The body of Michael Polding was found by police in his Brighton flat on 16 July last year, nearly two months after his death.

He died from "blunt force trauma" to his chest, Lewes Crown Court was told.

Ricardo Pisano, 36, formerly of Methuen Street, Southampton, denies murder and causing grievous bodily harm.

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Mr Pisano, who lived with Mr Polding, has admitted a charge of preventing the lawful and decent burial of a body.

Prosecutor Philip Katz QC told the jury that Mr Pisano had advertised himself in a gay magazine as a "rent boy" and met Mr Polding in December 2009.

Image caption Ricardo Pisano denies murder and causing grievous bodily harm

He moved in with him at his home in Croydon, south London, and later followed him to Brighton.

"The prosecution say that really from the word go this defendant lived off Michael Polding financially," he said, adding that Mr Pisano had no job and no income.

"The Crown's case is that this defendant and other friends of his effectively bled Mr Polding dry financially and this defendant, while in this period, pretended to act as his carer and even godson.

"In fact, we say he abused and assaulted Mr Polding, resulting in a serious assault," he said.

"We say that he eventually killed him, and, having killed him, left him to rot."

After his arrest, Mr Pisano claimed in a police interview that he came home to their St George's Road flat to find Mr Polding had committed suicide by hanging himself from a banister.

"He said he tried and failed to revive Mr Polding and had then panicked," Mr Katz said.

"He said there were people in South Africa who wanted to kill him and his family and that was why he had been unable to tell anyone about the death of Mr Polding, and that was why he had to flee the scene and not tell anyone what happened."

'Frittered away'

The court heard that in late 2011 and early 2012, Mr Pisano and friends Emmett Friel and Hannington Obote started up a hair salon in north London under the name Fate.

"This money was effectively Mr Polding's and that was being frittered away," Mr Katz said.

After selling his Croydon flat, Mr Polding asked one of his sisters to take control of a "nest-egg" for him using part of the proceeds from the sale.

Mr Katz said that a couple of weeks before he died, Mr Polding asked his sister to transfer £500.

Later that day, he phoned her again asking for another £100.

Mr Katz said that in the background, Mr Pisano could be heard asking her to send £1,500.

She transferred the money and never heard from her brother again, the court heard.

The trial continues.

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