July 24 2014 Latest news:
by Court Reporter
Sunday, February 10, 2013
CCTV footage of twitching bedroom curtains reveal the moment a man was murdered for his disability benefits, a court heard.
Richard Hamilton’s decomposing body was discovered by a neighbour on April 9 last year, two weeks after he was last seen.
The 45-year-old had been stabbed 21 times in his bedroom at the Shirland Road hostel, Maida Vale, where he was living sometime between March 27 and 29.
However, detectives believe CCTV showing the curtain in the front bay window moving for about 20 seconds at around 2am on March 28 shows the precise moment Mr Hamilton was killed. Soon after, the basement laundry light is switched on and off.
Prosecutors at the Old Bailey allege it was neighbour Matthew Tinling, 25, who killed Mr Hamilton as he tried to force him to disclose his PIN to his bank account. He denies the charge.
The jury was told Tinling was seen leaving the building several times in the hours after the attack, dumping bags in bins at the front.
Both men were drug users staying at the hostel for the homeless, where – it is claimed – it was common knowledge Mr Hamilton had more money than other residents because he received £197 disability allowance every fortnight on top of £272 in other benefits. “That was to be his ultimate downfall,” prosecutor Zoe Johnson said.
Tinling allegedly used the PIN to withdraw £240 from Mr Hamilton’s account on April 8 last year.
His bank and Post Office account cards have never been recovered but Tinling’s DNA was recovered from the plastic wallet used to store them and the curtains in Mr Hamilton’s room, it is claimed.
Fellow residents also claim to have seen him threaten and attack the victim in the past.
The trial continues.