Ian Tomlin death: Baseball bat split during 'vicious' attack

Ian Tomlin Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Ian Tomlin died from a head injury caused by blunt force trauma

A man was battered to death with a baseball bat after confronting drug dealers outside his flat, the Old Bailey has been told.

Gary Beech and Michael Swan are accused of killing 46-year-old Ian Tomlin in Battersea, south London, on 17 October.

During the attack Mr Tomlin was struck so hard the bat "split", was stabbed in the neck and left to die metres from his home, the jury heard.

Mr Beech, 48, of Cromwell House and Mr Swan, 46, from Wandsworth, deny murder.

Opening the case, prosecutor Alexandra Healy QC said there was "a history of tension" between Mr Tomlin and the defendants.

CCTV from a building nearby, which looks on to Cromwell House, was played to the jury and appeared to show "a ruckus" on the first floor at about 17:30.

Ms Healy told jurors evidence suggested Mr Tomlin returned home with shopping, then grabbed a baseball bat and a bike chain to confront his neighbour, Mr Beech, and Mr Swan.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ian Tomlin was beaten to death with a baseball bat stabbed in the neck outside Cromwell House

She added: "Mr Swan described how the day before he was with his friends on the estate where they sell drugs.

"He said the deceased is a nasty man who he would clash with.

"He said the people on the estate think he [Mr Tomlin] is a good man because he works but he was horrible and would steal his [Mr Swan's] gang's drugs."

'Large bat'

The court heard that Swan told police there was an argument on the day Mr Tomlin died, and the latter returned to confront them armed with a "long chain and a large bat".

He told police the pair grappled on the floor before his "friend" began hitting Mr Tomlin with a bat.

Ms Healy added: "He [Mr Swan] said how the deceased had complained to his friend because he was making too much noise on the landing."

Mr Swan is said to have fled in a car, while Mr Beech left the housing block temporarily before re-entering and going into his flat - a journey which would have taken him past his dying neighbour, the court heard.

The trial continues.

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