A jury has retired to consider its verdict in the trial of a South African national accused of murdering a gay man in Brighton.

The body of Michael Polding was discovered at his home in St George’s Road in the Kemptown area of Brighton in July 2012.

At the time of discovery, it’s believed Mr Polding had been dead for around two months.

He died from “blunt force trauma” to his chest.

Ricardo Pisano, 36, claims he did not kill Mr Polding but found him hanging from a banister after returning from a walk on a beach.

He went on the run for nearly a year until he was arrested in Southampton on 7 May.

Mr Pisano, who used a number of aliases, moved in with Mr Polding while he lived in Croydon, south London, then followed him down to the coast in Brighton.

The defendant said during the trial he knew he could not call an ambulance because the police would have been alerted to the fact that he was in the country illegally, and he would be deported back to South Africa.

Prosecutor Philip Katz QC told the trial at Lewes Crown Court: “The prosecution say that really from the word go this defendant lived off Michael Polding financially.

“He had no job and no income, and when Mr Polding decided to sell up in Croydon and move to Brighton, this defendant moved with him.

“The Crown’s case is that this defendant and other friends of his effectively bled Mr Polding dry financially and this defendant, while in this period, pretended to act as his carer and even godson.

“In fact, we say he abused and assaulted Mr Polding, resulting in a serious assault. We say that he eventually killed him, and having killed him, left him to rot.”

Ricardo Pisano, of Southampton, Hampshire, denies murder and grievous bodily harm but has admitted preventing the lawful and decent burial of a body.

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