The jury in the case of a man accused of murdering a Brighton gay man has retired for a third day to consider its verdict.

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

Mr Polding, 62, died from “blunt force trauma” to his chest in May last year but was not found until 16 July.

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

The 36-year-old said he had returned home to find that Mr Polding, who he called St Mikes, had committed suicide by hanging himself from a banister.

During the trial he told the court he fled the scene because he feared deportation to South Africa where a “fatwa” had been issued against him by vigilante group People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (Pagad) who deemed him “troublesome or a threat”.

Mr Pisano claimed that if he was deported he would be “dead in a week”.

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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