Michael Beckwith killing: Teenager admits manslaughter

Michael Beckwith Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Keen fisherman Michael Beckwith worked at a residential home for mental health patients

A teenager has admitted killing a care home worker who was attacked by two masked men with metal poles.

Michael Beckwith, 44, died from his injuries following the assault in Barrack Lane, Harwich, last July.

Joseph Smith, 18, has been on trial for murder at Chelmsford Crown Court alongside two other defendants accused of the same offence.

He has pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denies murder. Rebecca Ryan, 22, and Scott Swift, 27, also deny murder.

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The prosecution alleges Mr Beckwith was lured to a remote part of Harwich by his ex-fiancee, Ms Ryan, on 31 July last year, before suffering 17 blows to his head, arms and legs. He died on 2 August.

The court heard his relationship with Ms Ryan, whom he had met while working at Connolly Care Home in Weeley - a residential home for mental health patients - had ended a few days before the attack.

Ms Ryan, of Hilltop Rise, Weeley, and her former boyfriend Mr Swift, of Station Road, Dovercourt were charged with murder on 5 August alongside Mr Smith, of Canning Street, Harwich, who was 17 at the time.

A married couple, Triston and Enderlein Biddlecombe, both of East Street, Harwich, are accused of assisting an offender. They deny the charges against them.

Ms Ryan is also charged with perverting the course of justice for falsely claiming she had been a victim of the attack on Mr Beckwith.

The trial continues.

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