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Jury still out in rent boy murder trial
A jury has retired for a third day to consider its verdicts in the trial of a Southampton rent boy accused of murdering a man after bleeding him financially dry.
Ricardo Pisano, 36, allegedly killed openly gay Michael Polding, 62, whose body was found by police two months after his death neatly positioned and wrapped up in bedding.
Mr Polding, who lived in a rented two-bedroom basement flat in St George's Road, Brighton, East Sussex, died from ''blunt force trauma'' to his chest in May last year but was not found until July 16.
Pisano met Mr Polding in December 2009 after he advertised himself in a gay magazine as a rent boy, Lewes Crown Court has heard.
Pisano, dubbed The Artful Dodger after escaping from a New Zealand jail, moved in with Mr Polding while he lived in Croydon, south London, then followed him down to the coast in Brighton, the jury was told.
Prosecutor Philip Katz QC told the court that Pisano and other friends had effectively bled Mr Polding dry financially, while the defendant pretended to act as his carer.
Pisano evaded capture for nearly a year until he was arrested at a house in Southampton, Hampshire, on May 7 under a different name, Mr Katz said.
Pisano claims he returned home to find that Mr Polding, who he called St Mikes, had committed suicide by hanging himself from a banister.
He told the court he fled the scene because he feared deportation to South Africa where a ''fatwa'' had been issued against him by the controversial vigilante group People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (Pagad) who deemed him ''troublesome or a threat''.
He claimed that if he was deported he would be ''dead in a week''.
Pisano, formerly of Methuen Street, Southampton, denies murder and causing grievous bodily harm but has admitted preventing the lawful and decent burial of a body.