A MAN was killed in his own home by attackers who beat him unconscious then set fire to his flat, a court heard.
Jason Lockwood died in his own home on Valentine’s Day last year following an early-morning attack which was allegedly carried out by two men he had been drinking with.
Kyle Gordon has pleaded guilty to murdering 40-year-old Mr Lockwood, but he contends that Stephen Tiffin joined in the attack.
Gordon is due to give evidence today against Tiffin, who denies murder.
Andrew Robertson QC, prosecuting, told jurors at Newcastle Crown Court that Mr Lockwood died from a combination of head injuries and smoke inhalation following the attack and fire at his flat in Blyth, Northumberland.
Mr Robertson said: “The crown say the pair of them beat him senseless, causing severe head injuries.
“After knocking him senseless, a fire was then started, no doubt in the hope of destroying evidence and burning the body.
“It may well be they both thought Jason Lockwood was already dead, but it seems although he was unconscious he may well have still been alive because it was smoke inhalation from the fire that killed him in the end.
“Injuries had been inflicted as a result of multiple kicks, stamps and blows with weapons to the head. He was unable to escape the fire because of the beating he received.”
The court heard that the day before Mr Lockwood was killed, Gordon and Tiffin had been at the Thornton Hotel, in Blyth.
They ended up being arrested for drunken behaviour and were taken to Bedlington police station.
At 4.25am on February 14, the pair were released and went to Mr Lockwood’s flat at Nordale House, Cowpen, Blyth.
The men drank alcohol into the next morning, until some time between 7.45am and 9.15am when the murder happened.
When the emergency services responded to the fire, they found Mr Lockwood dead on the floor.
Under his body was a charge sheet that Tiffin had been given after leaving the police station earlier that morning and the stem of a fake rose.
When Tiffin was arrested the next day, he was found hiding under his bed, the court heard. Prosecutors say he lied to the police and also tried to pin all the blame on Gordon, 24, of Plover Close, South Beach Estate, Blyth.
Mr Robertson told jurors: “Gordon has pleaded guilty to murder and fully admits responsibility for the attack and also being party to the setting of the fire.
“However, he will tell you he was not acting alone. He will say he and Tiffin were acting together, they both attacked Mr Lockwood.” Tiffin, 29, of Ingoe Close, Blyth, denies murder.
The court heard that Tiffin admits he was there, but denies taking part in the attack or setting the fire.
The trial continues.