A FISHERMAN who claimed his friend had died from an epileptic fit while they were camping at a lakeside had actually killed him, it was alleged in court today (Tuesday).

Liverpool Crown Court was told Nathan Muat thought he had got away with murder but after a post-mortem raised concerns, a further examination revealed he had suffered severe chest injuries.

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Muat, 45, who was described as bullying victim Peter Seeclear, is on trial at Liverpool Crown Court denying murder and an alternative charge of manslaughter.

Guy Gozem, QC, prosecuting, told the jury that Muat claimed that Mr Seeclear died suddenly while they were on a fishing trip at Stadt Moers Park in Whiston on October 30 last year.

Muat, of Upper Parliament Street, Toxteth, received a carer’s allowance for Mr Seeclear, a father-of-one, but investigations later showed he bullied him and "treated him like a servant, if not a dog".

The court heard that Muat, aka Abdul Huq, and Mr Seeclear, aka Sulliman, were Muslims who met after attending the same mosque.

Mr Gozem said they went to the park on Thursday, October 25, with the intention of spending a week or so there. About 5pm on October 30 Muat knocked a couple’s home in Priory Close “out of breath, upset, agitated and shaking.

"He said 'call an ambulance… he's had an epileptic fit and I don't think he's breathing'."

The court heard he ran back towards the park and the resident called an ambulance. Within 10 minutes he returned, asking if they had called 999, and then ran off again towards the park.

He told a dog walker: "My mate's had a fit - he's all cold” and they went into the park and the man saw Mr Seeclear, lying with his head inside a small tent, with dried blood on his nose and a pillow.

When paramedics arrived they found “a body which was cold and unresponsive. There was an obvious recent injury to the face. Rigor mortis had begun to set in.

"Nathan Muat explained to them that Peter Seeclear had suffered that injury to his face when he had fallen over. He told them that he had seen his friend having a fit."

Mr Gozem said Muat gave the same account to police and the authorities believed at that stage his friend had suffered a medical episode.

He said: "But all of that was to change. Nathan Muat had not told anybody the truth."

A post-mortem examination found Mr Seeclear suffered serious chest trauma and broken ribs, so his case was referred to a Home Office pathologist.

"Put shortly and bluntly, he found the death wasn't accidental and wasn't natural,” claimed Mr Gozem.

"Somebody had killed Peter Seeclear. And whoever it was, and however they had done it, had used very considerable – severe - force against him."

He said Muat's account "simply could not be true" and his friend had a variety of injuries of differing ages, including cuts, bruises and abrasions.

St Helens Star:

Peter Seeclear

Mr Gozem said Muat was "deliberately concealing" events because he was the one who had caused the injuries and, if not for the medical examinations, "might well have succeeded in getting away with murder".

He told the jury police learned the two men spent a lot of time at each other's homes and officers spoke to neighbours about their relationship.

Mr Gozem said, ”The prosecution suggest it will become perfectly apparent one of these men was dominant and aggressive and the other one subservient.

"Although Nathan Muat was appointed carer to Peter Seeclear, there is abundant evidence that he bullied him, abused him, and treated him like a servant, if not a dog.

"Almost everybody who saw the two men together was anything from surprised to appalled by his treatment of Peter Seeclear."

Muat was arrested on November 15 and in a first police interview, claimed Mr Seeclear got up to urinate during the night and fell over and hurt himself.

He said his friend went home that day, October 28, to get a good night’s sleep and clean up, Mr Gozem claimed that he had been confused and breathless because of injuries he had already suffered. The next day he went back to the park with his own tent.

Muat said he didn't see his friend fall on October 30, but heard something and found him face down and unresponsive, so put him in the recovery position and tried CPR before going for help as his mobile phone battery was flat.

In a third interview he refused to demonstrate how he carried out chest compressions, before police told him about the medical findings.

He confirmed he was the only person with Mr Seeclear but asked about the chest injuries he replied: "I don't know nothing about it."

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Mr Gozem said Muat's case had now changed and in a defence statement he suggested he and his friend fought on October 29.

He said Muat now claimed Mr Seeclear had forgotten some items and when he commented on it, his friend "became angry and lashed out striking him on the head and they fought".

Muat recalled "kicking out more than once to protect himself" and using "his knee to the chest", which he said appeared to "wind" his friend.

He said Mr Seeclar did not complain of any pain the next day but just wanted to rest, however, when he helped him up to urinate, he collapsed and he could not find his pulse.

Mr Gozem said: "The prosecution case is that Peter Seeclear was murdered by Nathan Muat. We say that he lost his temper for whatever reason, attacked him and inflicted the injuries that took his life."

He said Muat may not have desired to kill him, but "must have delivered repeated blows, of whatever nature - kicks, stamps, punches or jumps - with severe force. Only he knows."

Mr Gozem added: "It is the conduct, you may think, of somebody who has flown into a rage and wants to deliver a serious beating."

The trial continues.