A gay man fell into a coma and died after he was mercilessly beaten by a group of youths in a suspected homophobic hate crime.
Jerry Appicella was found dead in his apartment on 15 December, 2019, almost two full weeks after the brutal attack, which occurred in Denaby Main, South Yorkshire.
Martel Brown, 24, Kian Gerrard, 20, Shae Nicholson, 20, and a 15-year-old boy who cannot be named for legal reasons are currently on trial for murder in Sheffield Crown Court, Yorkshire Live reports.
Appicella, 51, was an alcoholic who had become a recluse due to his addiction. He would often visit a Go Local store in the village to buy alcohol.
He was targeted by the group of youths when he visited the store on 3 December, 2019, the court heard.
Prosecutor John Harrison told the jury that the four youths “pursued and attacked” Appicella as he walked down an alleyway in Denaby Main.
“They beat him, kicked him, stamped on him and struck him with a weapon,” Harrison said.
“He was knocked to the floor and the attack continued.”
Jerry Appicella died alone in his house following a brutal assault.
A woman who saw the attack helped Appicella and brought him home, but he died shortly afterwards at his residence from injuries sustained in the attack.
All that can be said with certainty is that they carried out their attack because they wanted to.
The motive for the attack might never be known, Harrison told the court, but he noted that the boys would often refer to Appicella as a “faggot” and a “nonce”.
“All that can be said with certainty is that they carried out their attack because they wanted to,” Harrison said.
Appicella lived an “isolated” life in a bungalow in Denaby Main in the years prior to his death, the court heard.
Before his alcohol addiction became a problem, he had studied at a drama school. His mother, who lives in America, became concerned when she didn’t hear from him for a number of days.
He was found dead by police at his residence 12 days after the attack. It later emerged that he had a bleed to the brain as a result of the attack which caused him to fall into a coma.
Investigators found CCTV footage of Appicella visiting the store and meeting the group of youths accused of murdering him.
The footage, the court was told, shows “a brutal attack by children and young adults on an obviously vulnerable and helpless victim”. The teenager involved in the attack can be seen carrying a yellow pole on the CCTV footage.
All four deny murdering Appicella. The trial is ongoing.