‘Mate’ denies beach murder

The part of the beach where Leslie Bertram's body was found.
The part of the beach where Leslie Bertram's body was found.
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A MAN accused of murdering someone he described as his “best mate” has denied attacking him.

Paul Thompson told a jury in a murder trial he witnessed another man striking Leslie Bertram on Blackpool beach, placing an arm around his neck and dragging him down.

He denied an allegation he had stamped on the 44-year-old victim’s head, or told co-defendant Colin Dugdale to “put him in a sleeper”.

Preston Crown Court heard Thompson accepts he put a foot out to try and get Dugdale off Mr Bertram and that it may have missed, hitting Mr Bertram instead.

Thompson, 44, of Woodfield Road, Blackpool and 27-year-old Dugdale, of Chesterfield Road, North Shore, both deny murder.

Mr Bertram’s body was discovered between Central and South piers at around 4am on June 16.

The prosecution claim both defendants were seen using violence towards Mr Bertram on the beach while they were walking Thompson’s dog, along with another man.

Thompson said he had known Mr Bertram, who died from neck and head injuries, for 25 years and at the time of his death he was staying at his flat.

He said he was not still fond of his ex-partner who was in a relationship with Mr Bertram.

Thompson claimed the men were walking on the beach when Dugdale hit Mr Bertram out of the blue.

He said: “Colin pulled his arm around his neck and squeezed and dragged him down to the sand. It was a shock. I put my foot out or kicked out my foot to get Colin off him. He was punching the hell out of him.

“I said ‘Stop. This is too much’. After a bit he did stop. I just walked away.”

When asked about a blood stain on his T-shirt, which contained Mr Bertram’s DNA, he said the victim had been “pretty badly” assaulted a few days earlier and had been bleeding from the mouth.

Dugdale admits hitting Mr Bertram but claimed he was only doing so in retaliation. He claims the injuries he inflicted did not cause Mr Bertram’s death.