A Wellingborough man accused of murdering a pensioner has admitted he was responsible for the killing.
But Mark Ellson says he is guilty only of a lesser offence of manslaughter because he did not intend to kill or seriously injure Giuseppe Miceli.
Mr Miceli, 71, a coin dealer, died at his home in Bants Lane, Northampton, following a dispute with 41-year-old Ellson in July last year.
The jury heard that former Royal Navy serviceman Ellson was court-martialed in 1996 for a variety of fraud, forgery and thefts. He also has dozens of convictions for dishonesty offences.
Giving evidence at his trial at Northampton Crown Court, Ellson was asked by his lawyer, William Harbage QC, if he admitted striking Mr Miceli on the head a number of times on Friday, July 12, whether that action was unlawful and whether Mr Miceli died as a result of the injuries sustained.
In response to each question, Ellson replied: “Yes.”
He said he had visited Mr Miceli’s home on a number of occasions because he wanted a watch valued. He said he later realised he did not have his passport in his possession and thought he must have dropped it at Mr Miceli’s house.
But he said the pensioner refused to return it to him, causing the two to argue on that and a number of subsequent visits.
Mr Harbage asked Ellson why he had conducted internet searches for phrases including “how hard hit someone knock them out back of head hammer”, to which Ellson replied: “It was a very stupid way of thinking about getting my passport back.”
He told the jury his intention was to daze Mr Miceli, giving him a chance to take back his passport.
But as the two argued again, Ellson said Mr Miceli started shouting at him and hitting him with a stick, so he picked up a mallet he found in Mr Miceli’s house.
“I swung around with my right hand and caught him on the side of the face,” he added. “It was on the temple.”
He said he kept swinging his hand with the mallet in, and struck Mr Miceli four or five times. But he insisted he did not think Mr Miceli, who he described as getting angrier throughout the incident, was badly hurt, and said he threw the pensioner a towel to mop up two trickles of blood on his cheek.
Ellson said it was only some days later that he realised something was seriously wrong when he saw forensic teams at Mr Miceli’s house.
Christopher Donnellan QC, prosecuting, said the prosecution did not accept Mr Miceli was “waving his walking stick” at Ellson.
He then said Ellson planned to kill Mr Miceli on July 11, but lost his nerve, instead returning the following day with the mallet.
Mr Donnellan said: “He worked you out. He realised you were after his money.
“You were intending to kill him, weren’t you? You never wanted him to get up again.
“You hit him over the head time after time after time.
“You never planned to kill him, but when it came to it, that was what you did.
“You completed the job.”
The trial continues.