Paul Retallick murder trial: Man 'beaten to death in front of his ex'
A jury has heard how a man was allegedly beaten to death in front of his ex-girlfriend in a matter of minutes. Claire Smyth reports as the prosecution set out its case against a father and son accused of murdering father-of-three Paul Retallick...
A man who met his former girlfriend in secret was beaten to death by her brother and father when they found out, a court heard this week.
Lee Michael McGinty, 25, of Peony Road, Langport, attacked Paul Retallick, 35, after he found him hiding in a wardrobe in his sister Heidi McGinty’s house on Sunday, September 16, last year, Bristol Crown Court was told on Monday.
Opening the prosecution’s case, barrister Peter Coombe said Lee’s father Michael Frank McGinty, 55, also of Peony Road, then restrained Mr Retallick while his son continued to punch, kick and stamp on him in the first-floor bedroom of the house on Iris Way in Langport.
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Mr Retallick, formerly of Barwick, near Yeovil, was declared dead shortly after 9pm that night after police and paramedics were sent to the scene.
He had suffered extensive injuries.
Mr Coombe told the court: “There are only three people still alive who saw what happened.
“Two are the defendants and the third is Heidi McGinty.”
Yesterday, Miss McGinty, 26, now of Ilminster, was due to continue giving evidence for the prosecution.
In his opening speech on Monday, Mr Coombe outlined statements given to police by Miss McGinty describing events leading up the discovery of Mr Retallick’s body in a “bloody” scene in her home.
She and Mr Retallick had been “surreptitiously” seeing each other again prior to his death, the court heard.
Mr Coombe said: “Both of them were concerned about how Heidi McGinty’s family would react if they were aware he was back.
“Heidi tried to conceal the relationship,” Mr Coombe said.
He said the couple’s four-year relationship was “often turbulent” and “marred by episodes of violence” resulting in a restraining order against Mr Retallick on one occasion.
He said Mr Retallick was living in his car before his death but had on occasions stayed the night at Miss McGinty’s.
After Mr Retallick’s death, police found his Peugeot 406 on Wearne Lane close to her home.
On the day of Mr Retallick’s death, Miss McGinty tried to discourage her father from coming round after he contacted her to say he was going to return a table and chairs he had borrowed, the court heard.
This did not deter the defendants who arrived at Miss McGinty’s house sometime after 8pm with the furniture, Mr Coombe said.
He added: “She says on the Sunday evening she was at home with Paul Retallick and she received a text message from her father saying he was going to return her table and chairs. She said she replied saying she was having a bath and could he bring the furniture round the next morning. She told him she was tired and wanted to go to bed early because she had to get up the next day.”
“Paul Retallick urged Heidi to let her father in, and hid in a wardrobe in an upstairs bedroom to avoid conflict with him,” Mr Coombe said.
On entering the house, Lee went straight up the stairs and searched the house before finding Mr Retallick, the court heard. Heidi and her father followed.
Mr Coombe said: “Heidi and Paul’s relationship was marred by episodes of violence and, indeed a couple of nights before, Paul had attacked her and injured her. One of the reasons she said she was so panicked was because she had a number of bruises on her body and she didn’t want her family to see these.”
“Heidi says when she got to her bedroom where the wardrobe had been, her brother was pulling Paul Retallick by his head and his neck so he couldn’t move and was repeatedly punching him in his face.
“Mr Retallick was crouching over and using both his hands to cover his head.”
Michael McGinty jumped on Mr Retallick’s back and made a reference to when the victim previously attacked him and broke his ribs, Mr Coombe said.
It was at this point Miss McGinty claimed she first called the police, Mr Coombe said.
He said: “At this moment she describes Paul Retallick trying to get away.
“She says she tried to get her brother off Paul and was screaming for him to get off.
“She said there was blood everywhere. Having failed to get her brother off she again tried to call the police.”
Mr Coombe said Miss McGinty described her father sitting on the edge of the bed, restraining Mr Retallick by putting his arms under the victim’s arm pits.
During this time Lee kept punching him in the face, Mr Coombe said.
Lee McGinty continued to assault and kick Mr Retallick even after he fell face down on the floor, the court was told.
At one point Lee threw a punch so powerful, his fist went right through a wall in the bedroom, Mr Coombe said.
Miss McGinty left the house at one stage and banged on a neighbour’s windows and doors, screaming for him to call the police, the court was told. When she returned to the house, the father of her youngest child was face down on the bedroom floor.
Mr Coombe told the court that Miss McGinty said her father was trying to protect Mr Retallick at one point.
He had his hands on his head and said: “That’s enough, that’s enough.”
Lee McGinty then jumped on Paul Retallick’s head, Mr Coombe said.
“After the incident her father asked if he was breathing and her brother grabbed Paul, pulled him across the floor and told him to get up, and said he was still breathing,” Mr Coombe said.
“In a matter of moments, Paul Retallick was quite literally beaten to death in front of Heidi’s eyes,” he said.
After the attack, Lee shouted at his sister and said it was her fault for letting Mr Retallick into the house, while her father showed remorse, cuddled her and said sorry, Mr Coombe said.
The court heard that Michael McGinty told police had he known Paul Retallick was in his daughter’s house when he first got there, he would have left.
He also said he was concerned that Mr Retallick was carrying a weapon as he was known to, Mr Coombe said.
In a statement to police the day after the incident, Lee McGinty said his sister had appeared “scared and upset” when he first arrived at her home and he went upstairs to find out why, the court was told.
The court also heard Michael McGinty’s blood had as much as four times the legal drink drive limit of alcohol when it was tested at 4.30am on the morning of Monday, September 17. Traces of alcohol and cannabis were found when Lee McGinty was asked to give a sample 15 minutes later.
Both defendants deny murder. The trial continues.