The jury in the case of a man accused of murdering a Brighton gay man have begun their deliberations.

Jurors at Lewes Crown Court are currently contemplating whether Ricardo Pisano, 36, murdered Michael Polding at the flat they shared in Kemptown, Brighton, in May 2012.

The jury was previously told Mr Pisano phoned the dead 62-year-old, who he called “St Mike’s”, on at least five occasions in the days after discovering his body.

Mr Pisano explained that he sent the text to “cover his tracks” because he was worried that the death would get him in trouble as he was in the country illegally.

The trial heard that Mr Pisano feared for his life if returned to South Africa.

He said: “I knew the police would get involved. That is why I didn’t call the police in the first place after St Mike’s passed on.”

Mr Polding, who met the accused in December 2009 after Mr Pisano had advertised himself in a gay magazine, died from a blunt trauma to his chest.

His badly decomposed body was found wrapped in bedding in his rented two-bedroom flat two months after his death.

Mr Pisano went on the run for nearly a year until he was arrested at a house in Southampton, on 7 May.

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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