Page last updated at 21:22 GMT, Monday, 9 June 2008 22:22 UK

Man 'beaten to death with a cue'

Daniel Breaks
Daniel Breaks was arrested in Southampton

A man battered his sister's partner to death after suspecting him of informing about his alleged involvement in a bank blackmail plot, a court has heard.

The body of 40-year-old Simon Sutton was found in Argyle Street South in Birkenhead, Merseyside, in April.

The court was told Daniel Breaks flew into a rage and repeatedly beat Mr Sutton with a pool cue.

Mr Breaks, 48, of Halville Road, Allerton, denies murder at Liverpool Crown Court.

'Body in alley'

The court was also told Mr Breaks attacked his sister Gwyneth Breaks, slapping her in the face and hitting her with the cue, believing she had also reported the alleged blackmail of HSBC in Newcastle last March.

Outlining the alleged fatal attack, which happened in front of Mr Breaks' sister and his girlfriend Helen White, prosecuting QC Tim Holroyde said the defendant launched three separate assaults on Mr Sutton over several hours.

He showed them the body, again saying that this is what happened to grasses, and threatening to shoot his mother and sister if word got out
Tim Holroyde QC, prosecution

He said: "He hit him on the head, body and limbs with the weighted end of the pool cue, punched him and kicked him, saying 'this is what happens to grasses'."

Mr Breaks made his girlfriend, sister and Mr Sutton kneel before him and forced the victim to beg him to stop.

Mr Holroyde said: "When his mother Joan and his sister Susan called round he showed them the body, again saying that this is what happened to grasses, and threatening to shoot his mother and sister if word got out."

Mr Sutton, who weighed less than eight stone and was 5ft 6in tall, died in the early hours of 12 April.

After dumping his body in an alley behind his home, Mr Breaks went to see pensioner friends Charles and Joy Heaps in Durham where he allegedly abducted and drove the pair, both in their 60s, to London at knife point after binding their wrists and taking their cash cards, jurors were told.

'Serious threat'

The prosecutor said: "Breaks had told them that if ever they reported what he had said, he would have them shot - a threat which they took seriously," said Mr Holroyde.

The court heard the defendant forced the couple into their own car which he drove, drinking brandy "and brandishing the knife" - stopping to withdraw money from Mrs Heaps' account.

Mr Breaks eventually stopped somewhere in north London, apologised, and left them in the car, Mr Holroyde said.

He was arrested on 20 April in Southampton.

The Crown alleges that Mr Breaks and the dead man's brother Jason Sutton, 28, were part of a plot to blackmail 300,000 from a branch of HSBC on Grey Street in Newcastle.

Mr Sutton, of Rockville Street, Birkenhead, Merseyside, denies conspiracy to blackmail.

Mr Breaks denies murder, conspiracy to blackmail, kidnap and false imprisonment.

The trial continues.

Appeal after alley murder arrests
17 Apr 07 |  Merseyside
Body in alleyway probe continues
17 Apr 07 |  Merseyside
Police probe 'unexplained' death
16 Apr 07 |  Merseyside

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific