Sussex

Mark Manning manslaughter: Colin Gale jailed for Lancing killing

Colin Gale Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Colin Gale admitting striking Mark Manning but said it was in self-defence

A car mechanic who bludgeoned a man to death with a wrench before dumping his body has been jailed.

Colin Gale, 40, from Worthing, West Sussex, denied murdering Mark Manning during a row over a £17,000 debt, saying he had acted in self-defence.

A jury at Lewes Crown Court found him guilty of manslaughter on 6 February,

Sentencing Gale to 15 years and eight months, Judge Shani Barnes described former bomb disposal expert Mr Manning as a "brave, loving" man.

Stewart Robertson, 50, of St Aubyns Road, Portslade, was jailed for four years for preventing lawful burial.

Judge Barnes said of Gale: "It seems to me that the real point is this was a sustained attack."

She described his actions afterwards, as he carried on his life as normal, as "extraordinary".

Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Mark Manning worked for a charity that helped clear mines in some of the world's poorest countries

Mr Manning, 54, a father of two who had previously helped clear mines in third world countries, was reported missing in April 2014 after failing to meet up with his son.

The court heard that Gale, a mechanic, had hit Mr Manning, a car dealer, with a wrench during a row over money he owed him.

Prosecutors told the jury a row over the debt owed to Mr Manning from the sale of two vehicles ended with Gale deciding to "finish him off" at P&B Car Sales garage in Western Road, Lancing.

Gale claimed he was protecting himself.

Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Stewart Robertson was found guilty of helping dispose of the body

Mr Manning's body was found after Robertson told police, following his arrest in May 2016, the corpse had been dumped on land at Hampshire Hill, near Slaugham, the jury was told.

In a statement read to the court, Mr Manning's son, Kane Manning, said: "My dad was my life. I looked up to him and now he has been taken from me.

"I have come to the point where I have had enough."

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