Defendant claims he heard Polish killed Hastings man

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ONE of the defendants accused of murdering a homeless man told police he’d heard rumours the ‘Polish community’ had killed a man from Hastings. Michael Clark, 52, and Edward Phillips, 49, who both gave their address as HMP Lewes are charged with the murder of Lea Williams, 45, who was living on the streets of Brighton and Hove.

Nurse Lauren Bishop, 36, of HMP Bronzefield, originally from Worthing, stands charged with conspiracy to murder.

In first interviews all three defendants failed to mention an argument which had taken place while they were drinking in a group with Mr Williams earlier on the day he died – February 8, later putting it down to not remembering due to drinking too much.

Lewes Crown Court heard on Wednesday from detective constable Victoria Denman who interviewed Michael Clark.

Clark said during interviews he had been married in 2000 and had lived in Portsmouth but the marriage had ended in 2002 and he became homeless.

Reading Clark’s statement DC Denman said: ‘I knew Lea to say hello to, I didn’t know much about him or what his last name was.

‘He was a drinker he drank the strong stuff like me. He always had stubble or a beard.

“I think I saw him every three to four days for about a month.

“I never got really friendly with him. Every now and again we would have a drink.’

Clark claimed the last day he saw Mr Williams – who died on February 8 this year – was on February 7 when he seemed ‘his normal self’.

He said he had known Phillips who he also described as a ‘heavy drinker’ for about three weeks.

Clark was asked about February 8 in his next interview. He said he ‘could not recall a fight at all’ and said ‘honestly he could barely recall any day clearly’ due to the amount he was drinking at the time.

He said: “I was upset over Lea’s death as all the homeless people were.

“I can’t imagine anyone I know doing anything like killing someone.

“I have heard rumours on the street that it was the Polish community who killed Lea but its only rumours.

“I heard it was something to do with Lea’s past something to do with children he had got away with in court.

“But it is only rumours again.

Mr Williams body was found in an alcove at Hove Pitch and Putt on February 11.

The trial continues