Attack at homeless charity house left man dead, Leeds court hears

A man accused of killing a fellow resident during a “death struggle” inside a homeless charity’s property in Pontefract claimed the victim had fallen down the stairs, a court heard.

Monday, 11th February 2019, 4:49 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th February 2019, 5:52 am
Murder accused Sean Keena is standing trial at Leeds Crown Court.

Sean Keena, 39, was said to have been wearing nothing more than underwear and socks when he flagged down a passing motorist in South Baileygate during the early hours of August 23 last year.

Jurors at Leeds Crown Court heard how long distance lorry driver Adrian Spurgeon then found victim Mark Long laid in the blood stained hallway of the four-bedroom house.

Murder accused Sean Keena is standing trial at Leeds Crown Court.

Prosecutor Alistair Macdonald said there were no signs of life and 45-year-old Mr Long was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

The court heard Keena and his victim were among four residents at the house run by The Saviour Trust, and their regular drunken arguments were so disruptive that a fellow resident had asked to be moved.

Mr Macdonald said that had resident described hearing Keena shouting and the sound of items being smashed before he left the house at around 1.50am on August 23 to escape the noise.

He went on to tell jurors that expert evidence would show how Mr Long was later subjected to a “prolonged and vicious” beating, during which Keena stamped on him at least twice.

It appeared Mr Long tried to crawl up the stairs to escape harm during the “death struggle”, only to be dragged back down and eventually lose consciousness, jurors were told.

The court heard Keena, who denies a charge of murder, later told police he had woken in the night and found an injured Mr Long in the hallway.

“The prosecution say the defendant’s account of Mr Long having fallen down the stairs at that house was a lie,” Mr Macdonald said. “The reality is that he was beaten and stamped upon by this defendant and that was the true cause of his death.”

Clothing covered in Mr Long's blood was found in the defendant's bedroom, jurors were told before being shown photographs and video footage of the scene as it was when police arrived.

The court heard Keena, who denies a charge of murder, claimed to have woken in the night and found an injured Mr Long in the hallway.

He told police in interviews that his clothes became covered in blood when he tried to resuscitate his housemate, but experts said the evidence was not consistent with this kind of contact.

Mr Macdonald told jurors that the account given to police was nothing more than a “cynical attempt to avoid responsibility for the extreme and fatal violence he had inflicted on Mr Long”.

He added that Mr Long had filed a report with police on June 30 last year, saying that Keena had threatened to kill him and he had been forced to climb out of his bedroom window to escape the property.

The trial continues.