Man accused of murdering Brighton student told police horror of finding ‘dead dude’

A MAN accused of murdering a student at a New Year’s Eve party told police of his horror at finding the “dead dude”, a jury has heard.

Billy Henham was allegedly beaten unconscious, stripped naked and thrown off a balcony at a disused building in the middle of Brighton on January 1, 2020.

The 24-year-old, from Henfield, suffered 11 rib fractures, extensive bruising to his scalp, face and neck and a brain injury.

He was also struck with a broken wooden stair spindle.

Dushane Meikle, 27, Gregory Hawley, 28, Lamech Gordon-Carew, 20, and 18-year-old Alize Spence are on trial accused of his murder.

In a series of interviews following his arrest, Meikle denied any involvement or knowing of any altercation having occurred.

He told police that he spotted the body when he went on “an adventure” at the party and described the discovery as “quite disturbing” and compared it to a horror movie.

Meikle admitted not alerting police, even though he knew a police van was parked up nearby in the street, as he feared becoming a suspect.

The Argus: Billy Henham Billy Henham

In a recorded interview played to the jury, he could be seen laughing, but he grimaced as he explained to detectives what he had seen on the outside terrace.

“A f***ing dead dude, mate. It was disgusting. It was not something you see every day. It was quite disturbing, if I’m honest ” he said.

“He was just laying there, lifeless. I think he was kind of face-up. He was just slumped, he looked proper like dead.

“I didn’t hang around to see much detail. He didn’t look good. He looked a little bruised on his face a bit. He had no clothes on, he was naked. That was even more disturbing, to be honest. Nasty.”

At one stage in the interview, he could be seen putting his head in his hands as he described “tapping” Billy’s shoulder.

“It was the lifelessness that did it for me. That’s what s*** me up. I didn’t want to touch him but nudged him. It was like a horror movie, man. He looked horrible, absolutely horrible,” he said.

Describing himself as being “out of my head on weed”, Meikle said: “I’m not being funny but black dude, body. You know all the stereotypical s***.

“The first thing I thought was ‘call police’ but you know where the finger is going to point. That was going through my head.”

Asked if he had seen Billy at the party, Meikle replied: “Not that I seen, not that I can remember.”

When asked if he had been involved in Billy’s death, he maintained: “F*** no. No, no.”

Billy, who studied at Ravensbourne University in London, had spent Christmas with his family but wanted to see in the new year in a “lively” atmosphere, the court heard.

He decided to leave his phone and wallet at home so as not to risk losing them but was believed to have written down one of his parents’ numbers on a piece of paper.

The final sighting of Billy was at 4.30am in All Sorts off-licence in North Street, diagonally opposite the squat where a New Year’s Eve party was held.

His body, which had been dropped over balcony railings from a height of nearly 11ft, was discovered by police the following day.

Forensic experts discovered disinfectant in his hair while bloodstained areas where he had been beaten appeared to have been “diluted”, the court heard.

The jury was told that while his injuries would have rendered him unconscious, Billy would have been alive for at least an hour after the violent attack.

When Meikle was arrested in Hove six days later, police found two deleted photos on his phone of Billy’s body on the roof terrace.

Meikle, of Amberley Drive, Hove, Gordon-Carew, of Cheeseman Close, Hampton, Middlesex, Hawley, of no fixed address, and Spence, of Makepeace Road, Northolt, Middlesex, all deny murder.

The trial continues.

The Argus | Brighton and Hove news