A MUM-OF-EIGHT and her boyfriend beat a 55-year-old man to death before telling police he had been dealing cocaine to her sister, jurors were told today. Cherri Gilmartin, 37, and her partner Jason Lodge, 39, of Uvedale Crescent in New Addington, both deny murdering David Petch at his home also in the estate last year. The pair had "gone looking" for Mr Petch on the evening of April 14 after getting "drunk" and becoming "angry," prosecutors told jurors at the first day of the couple's murder trial today. They were seen attacking Mr Petch on his doorstep in Wayside, Fieldway, jurors were told, Gilmartin hitting him with a baseball bat and Lodge repeatedly stamping on his head. Mr Petch was conscious when he was picked up by paramedics minutes later, but his condition rapidly deteriorated and he died in hospital on April 18 from severe head injuries, prosecutors said. Lodge and Gilmartin were both arrested after they attended Croydon police station the day before Mr Petch died, prosecutor Simon Denison QC said. He added: "In her interview, Gilmartin said that she and Lodge had gone to Mr Petch's flat on that night as he had been selling cocaine to her sister and they wanted to tell him to stop doing so. "And she claimed that Mr Petch had attacked Jason Lodge with the baseball bat and he had simply defended himself from attack. "She denied that she had hit Mr Petch with the baseball bat at all." The court was told the pair had turned up at around 11.30pm in Wayside, where Mr Petch lived, banging on peoples' doors and demanding to see him. Mr Denison added: "They then found his flat and found the door to be open and they went inside. "And at some point while they were inside the flat, these three together, one of them, either Mr Petch or one or other of the defendants, got hold of a baseball bat that Mr Petch kept there. "And it may be that there was some sort of scuffle inside the flat that was not seen by anyone except the three of them. "What people did see is what happened after that, when the three of them had come out to the front door of Mr Petch's flat. "And what people saw was the two defendants attacking Mr Petch." One witness heard Gilmartin shout "something along lines of 'That is what you get for giving my granddaughter cocaine'," Mr Denison aded. The court heard Gilmartin's sister, Laura Field, had previously bought cocaine from and taken the illegal drug with Mr Petch. At the time of the alleged attack, Ms Field was thought to be using the drug again after spending a few weeks in a psychiatric ward. Mr Denison said: "And it may well be that the defendant Cherri Gilmartin believed that Mr Petch was responsible for supplying her with drugs. "Whether he was or whether he was not, it may well be that is what she believed. "If she did of course it does in no way justify what she and Jason Lodge did to him, killing him in the violent way that they did." Mr Petch lived with another man, the court heard, who returned to the home with a friend at the end of the alleged attack and phoned an ambulance. The trial, at the Old Bailey, is expected to last until June 28.
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