Thug admits manslaughter after alleged group attack on vulnerable man in Doncaster

A violent thug has admitted his part in an alleged group attack on a vulnerable man led to his death.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 9:25 am

Sheffield Crown Court has heard during a trial how Martell Brown, Shae Nicholson, Kian Gerrard and a 15-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have all denied murdering Jerry Appicella who was attacked in an alleyway leading to Hickleton Street, in Denaby Main, Doncaster, near a Go Local shop.

John Harrison, prosecuting, told the jury 51-year-old Mr Appicella, who used a walking stick and had drug and alcohol problems, was attacked in the evening of December 3, 2019, and he was found by police deceased with a head trauma 12 days later at his bungalow on Craganour Place, Denaby Main.

Although all four defendants have pleaded not guilty to murder, Mr Nicholson has pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

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Deceased 51-year-old Jerry Appicella, of Craganour Place, Denaby Main, Doncaster, pictured, was found dead at his bungalow by police on December 15, 2019.

Jeremy Wainwright, defending, told the jury: “He is in a different position to the other defendants because Shae Nicholson has, like the others, pleaded not guilty to murder but has pleaded guilty to an accepted manslaughter.

"He has accepted he used violence against Jerry Appicella. He has accepted that the attack upon the deceased caused him injury. He has accepted it as an unlawful attack and that the attack and injury resulted in Mr Appicella’s death.

"What you have to consider is what was intended by him. Someone is guilty of murder if they intended death or serious harm.

"If you cannot be sure he intended serious harm or death he is not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.”

Police launched an investigation after 51-year-old Jerry Appicella, of Denaby Main, Doncaster, was allegedly attacked in an alleyway near Hickleton Street, Denaby Main, Doncaster, on December 3, 2019, and was later found dead at his home.

Mr Harrison, prosecuting, claimed the defendants beat, kicked, and stamped on Mr Appicella and struck him with a weapon in a joint attack.

He added there is no obvious motive but it is accepted by the defendants they were present but each denies intending to cause serious injuries.

The court heard Mr Appicella was a gay man who had attended drama school and had performed with the National Theatre and he had worked as a bus driver and a doorman.

But Mr Harrison said Mr Appicella was dependent on benefits and the support of his family after he had developed alcohol and drug problems and he had suffered a stroke.

The 15-year-old boy and Mr Nicholson answered no comment during police interviews but Mr Gerrard told police he had been present during an assault but claimed he had only watched and had not been involved.

Mr Brown told police he thought Mr Appicella was a “lovely guy” and he had enjoyed a drink and a smoke with him. He added that when he had visited the shop he became aware of trouble and had told others to stop and when Mr Appicella was attacked he had tried to get someone he did not know off Mr Appicella.

Mr Brown, aged 24, of Colliery Road, Doncaster, Mr Gerrard, aged 19, of Lincoln Close, Denaby Main, Doncaster, and the 15-year-old boy, from the Doncaster area, all pleaded not guilty to murder. Mr Nicholson, aged 20, of Lincoln Close, Denaby Main, Doncaster, also denies murder but he has admitted manslaughter.

The trial continues.

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