Update: Murder trial hears from witnesses who saw man during the last days of his life


A murder trial has heard from witnesses who saw a man during the last days of his life.

The prosecution alleged Daniel Palmer beat Joao Esteves and put a cord around his neck and pulled it tight.

He filmed the aftermath of the fatal attack and told a friend to bring petrol to get rid of evidence of his DNA, the court heard.

Palmer, 24, from Maunsell Park, Station Hill, Three Bridges, has pleaded not guilty to murder.

Mr Esteves, 45, from Lisbon, in Portugal, was found lying unconscious in an alleyway with serious head injuries at 3.25am on January 19.

He was taken to hospital but died later that day.

He had arrived at Gatwick Airport from Portugal on January 15 to look for work.

A police officer saw him at of the South Terminal wearing worn clothes and looking dishevelled, Lewes Crown Court heard yesterday (Thursday July 24).

He asked Mr Esteves if he was travelling out of the airport that day. Mr Esteves told him that he arrived two days ago to look for work but had been unable to find any and was now waiting to be sent a ticket so he could travel back to Portugal.

The PC told him that he could stay at the airport that night but Mr Esteves would need to leave the next day if no travel arrangements had been sorted out.

The next day the PC saw Mr Esteves again and asked him if he had arranged a ticket to return home and if he had not he would have to leave the airport.

Mr Esteves was given details of Crawley Open House homeless hostel and told he could return to the Airport on Monday if he had arranged his travel arrangements.

Witness Deborah Simmonds told the court she saw Mr Esteves outside of the Vines BMW showroom in Crawley at about 9:30pm. He asked her where Three Bridges Station was and she told him.

Ms Simmonds said Mr Esteves spun round and stared at her and was very animated with wide eyes.

Scott Lee-Edwards had just finished a shift at the Snooty Fox pub at around 9:45pm and was walking towards Open House. Mr Esteves asked for directions to the homeless shelter.

Mr Lee-Edwards offered to show him the way and said Mr Esteves seemed OK and talked a lot on the short journey.

He said the shelter offered Mr Esteves food, drink and bedding but had no spaces for the night and told him to come back the next day.

The court heard earlier this week that photographs were found on Palmer’s phone showing Mr Esteves on the floor with a white cord around his neck.

Records from Palmer’s phone revealed he called a friend and said: “I’ve hit someone and they’re not moving.

“A bloke came at me with a knife and I hit him and he’s not moving.”

It was alleged he asked his friend to meet him and bring some petrol.

“My DNA is all over him”, added Palmer, according to the transcript of the phone call.

His friend said he did not have any petrol and advised Palmer to walk away from the scene.

The case continues and is expected to last up to weeks.