A SOUTHAMPTON dad was beaten with such "severe force" he was left with significant brain damage, a murder trial jury heard today.

Kevin Wyeth was "defenceless" when he was brutally attacked in a Woolston alleyway, where he was left to die from "appalling" face and neck injuries.

The man accused of inflicting such a beating, Damon Wright, was a cage fighter, the court heard, on the night he had followed him into the alleyway, wearing his martial arts fighting gloves, Winchester Crown Court was told.

Wright, 32, of no fixed abode, is charged with murdering the 31-year-old dad of three, who was the ex-partner of Wright's girlfriend Samantha Slater and father of her three children, on the night of August 23 last year.

He denies murder.

The trial began this morning, when the jury was told by Prosecutor Nicholas Haggan that Wright claimed he had attacked Mr Wyeth in self defence.

Daily Echo: Murder of Kevin Wyeth leaves a community in shock

The scene of the incident in Woolston last August

However, it is the prosecutions case that Wright had followed Mr Wyeth, with his hood up and fighting gloves on, knocking Mr Wyeth unconscious when he was relieving himself.

Mr Haggan said: "Having been drinking in the early evening, Mr Wyeth made his way into the alleyway intending to relieve himself and whilst he was in the process of urinating, you may think making him more or less defenceless, he was attacked by the defendant."

Mr Haggan added that Wright then waited more than an hour before he called a taxi to Defender Road, next to the alleyway where he had left his victim, and nearly three hours before he called for an ambulance.

After the ambulance was called Mr Haggan told the jury that Wright was captured on CCTV leaving his girlfriends flat and driving off in his car.

He was soon spotted on CCTV in a nightclub in Poole, where he was seen talking to a friend.

It was in this friend's car, Mr Haggan said, that a pair of martial arts fighting gloves were later found by police, which were found to have blood stains on them.

Mr Haggan told the court that tests revealed this DNA match the DNA of Mr Wyeth and that the match probability was one billion to one.

Daily Echo:

Tributes left at the Woolston alleyway where Kevin Wyeth died

The court heard how Mr Wyeth had been to visit his ex-partner that evening, at her flat in Highlands House, Woolston.

They had spent more than an hour talking outside the building while Wright sat in his car, in the car park, where he could see them talking.

Mr Haggan told the jury that Wright sent a text to Miss Slater saying "get rid of him, go in and wait for my call" before a neighbour spotted a male follow Mr Wyeth into the alleyway, who the prosecution say was Wright.

Mr Wyeth's decision the visit his ex was, Mr Haggan admits "perhaps unwise" as their relationship had not ended happily and a court order was in place which imposed restrictions on Mr Wyeth visiting her.

She had also started a new relationship with the accused weeks earlier.

The trial continues.