Gary Pocock murder: Four convicted of Dagenham man’s killing on Kent beach
- Credit: Archant
Three men and a teenage boy who lured a former friend to a secluded beach before brutally attacking him with baseball bats have been found guilty of his murder.
The jury convicted Mark Terry, 44, and his son Matthew Terry, 21, as well as Christopher Bones, 21, and a 16-year-old boy of murdering Gary Pocock, of Lillechurch Road, Dagenham.
Jamie West, 19, was found guilty of manslaughter in connection with the case. All five will be sentenced on May 9 after a lengthy trial at Maidstone Crown Court.
Gary, 34, was beaten to death amid claims he had molested a teenage girl. His body, left half-naked from the waist down, was dragged across a beach in Sheppey, Kent, and dumped in the sea.
Officers from Kent Police were called at just before 6am on August 7 last year after Gary’s body was found by a member of the public out using a metal detector on a secluded part of the beach.
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He had suffered significant head injuries. Two baseball bats, including one that had been broken in two, as well as a trail of blood leading to the beach, were found by officers from Kent police.
His body was identified 36 hours after the murder by his partner, who recognised the image of a distinctive signet ring that was released to the media by detectives working on the case.
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The group responsible for Mr Pocock’s death had led her to believe he had gone off with another woman after having spent the night out drinking with them in nearby Leysdown, Kent.
Officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate then arrested and charged Mark Terry and Matthew Terry, 20, both of Grantham Road in Manor Park; Bones, of Dorothy Gardens in Dagenham; West, of Cliffe View Gardens in Warden; and the teenager from Sheerness, who cannot be named for legal reasons, with murder.
The teenager was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice after providing false statements to police.
The jury heard Mark Terry had called a meeting at his chalet on August 6 in which Matthew Terry, West, Bones, the teenager and another friend – who refused to be part of the plot - were told Gary had sexually assaulted a teenage girl.
It was there Mark Terry proposed giving Gary a beating as punishment for his actions and they arranged to take him out later that night for a drinking session in Leysdown.
The evening began at Terry’s chalet before they moved on to Merlins in Leysdown Road at about 9.55pm. After several drinks, they left at 11.25pm and made for The Talk of The Town pub on The Promenade. Just before entering the pub, Mark Terry and Gary were captured on CCTV heading to the beach to urinate in the sea. They then joined up with the rest of the group and drank together and played pool.
Matthew Terry left the group in Merlins and collected his car. He then met with West and the pair drove along Warden Bay Road towards the beach at about 11.20pm to collect the baseball bats.
Mark Terry, Bones, and the teenager then left the pub with Gary and walked along the beach in the direction of Warden Bay Road.
Gary was in fact walking into an ambush as West and Matthew Terry suddenly appeared with baseball bats and the group began savagely striking him in the head and body. He tried in vain to escape, but was set upon again and beaten to death.
His body was then dragged down the beach towards the sea where they stripped his lower half before throwing the baseball bats and his clothing into the water.
The body was then taken into the water by Matthew Terry and Bones in the hope it would drift out to sea.
After returning to their chalet just before 1am on August 7, Mark Terry ordered the group to remove their clothing and take showers.
Matthew Terry and Bones returned to the scene of the crime at 3.30am to check the body had been taken out to sea and reported to the rest of the group it had gone.
Following the discovery of the body, in an attempt to cover up their murderous plot, Matthew Terry visited Gary’s partner, who was staying in a nearby chalet, to inform her Gary had left them at the end of the night to go home with another woman.
She went to see Mark Terry who confirmed the story.
But after she voiced concerns the body on the beach might be Gary’s, Mark Terry concocted a plan to prevent her from reporting it to police.
At just after 11pm on the same day she received a message from an unknown mobile number that said: “Can I come home tonight x”
After exchanging messages with someone purporting to be Gary, she rang the number and spoke to a man who alleged her partner was in Barking.
Police carried out a check on the phone and spoke to the owner, who said he had been approached by a person at the bus stop in Barking claiming to be Gary. The man had asked to use the phone.
Through CCTV, detectives were able to prove it was in fact Matthew Terry.
On August 8, after seeing media reports of a ring, his partner called police and reported the disappearance.
Mark’s wife Lisa Terry, 32, of the same address, was charged with perverting the course of justice after telling a witness to withhold information from police. After initially denying it, she pleaded guilty midway through the trial and will also be sentenced on May 9.
During interview all five denied the charges.
But during a fourth interview in which detectives disclosed there were witness accounts of the men showering after returning to the pub, the teenager admitted he was present and claimed Mark Terry, Matt Terry and Bones were responsible for the murder.
He admitted it was pre-planned and that Mark Terry had said they were going to beat Gary for “touching” the girl.
During interview he said: “I knew it was going to happen but I didn’t know when or where. Chris seemed all bubbly up for a fight. I put on that I was happy... I was panicking.
“Matt run over and smacked him all over the head, I’ve seen him go down and then he tried to run.
“Then I saw the hit, connected straight on the back of his head. Gary fell to the floor screaming. He couldn’t run because Mark, Chris and Matt were punching him, kicking him, hitting him with the bat. Then there was an explosion of blood.
“Mark was opening his legs and stamping on him seven to eight times.
“I saw Matt hit him with the bat 20 to 30 times, bringing it down from around his head.”
Senior investigating officer Det Ch Insp Jon Clayden of Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “From start to finish, the web of lies this group attempted to spin to cover up what they had done is nothing short of staggering.
“As far as Gary Pocock was concerned, Mark Terry was as close to a best friend as he had and there was no reason for him to be suspicious of going on a night out around town with him and a selection of friends he knew well.
“CCTV footage on the night shows them drinking together, seemingly enjoying themselves.
“But unbeknownst to Mr Pocock, the group had plotted to ‘teach him a lesson’ and ultimately lured him to his death.
“What had started off originally as a planned beating ended up being a savage and deathly attack that was undoubtedly fuelled by alcohol.”
“With the help of Lisa Terry, they tried to cover their tracks and even went as far as telling Mr Pocock’s partner that the body found was not him. Not content with that, Mark Terry shamefully sent his son Matthew to Barking to pretend to be Mr Pocock and send messages to his partner, all in an attempt to stop her calling police.
“The turning point in this investigation came when we issued an image of a ring worn by the victim and we were soon able to identify the body. Yet still the group lied through their teeth, sticking to the story that Mr Pocock had met another woman and had gone back to Essex with her.
“Following a lengthy and thorough investigation, we were able to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that four members of this group were responsible for this callous and unprovoked murder of a man they previously viewed as a good friend. One other member was found guilty of manslaughter.
“Our deepest sympathies remain with Mr Pocock’s partner and his family who have had to go through a trial and have what happened that night dragged back up. I do hope the fact these five have been tried and found guilty for the horrible and cowardly crime they committed will be of some comfort to those close to Mr Pocock.”
Did you know Gary? Would you like to pay tribute to him? Call the newsdesk on 0208 477 3816.