Four young people deny murdering vulnerable Doncaster man after he was punched and kicked to death

Four youngsters have denied murder after a vulnerable man was punched and kicked to death in an alleyway.

Thursday, 25th February 2021, 10:10 am

A Sheffield Crown Court trial heard on February 24 how Martell Brown, Shae Nicholson, Kian Gerrard and a 15-year-old boy who cannot be named for legal reasons have all denied murdering Jerry Appicella who was attacked in an alleyway leading to Hickleton Street, in Denaby Main, Doncaster, near a Go Local shop.

John Harrison, prosecuting, told the jury 51-year-old Mr Appicella, who used a walking stick and had drug and alcohol problems, was attacked in the evening of December 3, 2019, and he was found deceased 12 days later on December 15 at his home on Craganour Place, Denaby Main, by police.

Mr Harrison said: “They beat him, kicked him, stamped on him and struck him with a weapon. He was knocked to the floor and the attack continued.

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Pictured are police after they launched an investigation at a crime scene linked to the death of 51-year-old Doncaster man Jerry Appicella.

"When they were finished with their violence Mr Appicella was helped home by a lady who witnessed part of the attack. Regretably he died at his home address from the head trauma sustained in the attack.”

CCTV showed Mr Appicella had gone into the Go Local store and had come into conflict with some of the defendants inside and outside before he was attacked.

Mr Harrison said: “It shows a brutal attack by children and young adults on an obviously vulnerable and helpless victim.”

He added there is no obvious motive for the attack but it is accepted by the four defendants that they were present but each denies intending to cause any serious injuries.

Police found 51-year-old Jerry Appicella deceased at his home on Craganour Place, at Denaby Main, Doncaster. Pictured is Cragnour Place.

Mr Harrison added that relatives and a friend of Mr Appicella’s and a police support officer had tried to contact him after December 3 and he was reported missing on December 14.

Police visited Mr Appicella’s home at 9am, on December 15, according to Mr Harrison, and forced entry and found him laid in bed clearly deceased.

A post mortem examination confirmed Mr Appicella had died as a result of head trauma with bleeding on the brain which would have eventually affected his consciousness before he lapsed into a coma and died, according to Mr Harrison.

Mr Harrison added the bruising to Mr Appicella’s head and face was consistent with punches, kicks and stomps and he had clearly been punched and kicked to death.

The court heard Mr Appicella was an openly gay man who had attended drama school as a youngster and had performed with the National Theatre as a teenager and he had also worked as a bus driver and a doorman.

But Mr Harrison said Mr Appicella had become dependent on benefits and the support of his family after he had developed an alcohol and drugs problem and he had been prescribed methadone for a heroin addiction and had suffered a stroke and used a walking stick.

Mr Brown, aged 24, of Colliery Road, Doncaster, Gerrard, aged 19, also of Lincoln Close, Denaby Main, Doncaster, and the 15-year-old boy, from the Doncaster area, all pleaded not guilty to murder. Mr Nicholson, aged 20, of Lincoln Close, Denaby Main, Doncaster, also denies murder but he has admitted manslaughter.

The trial continues.

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