‘Body in bin’ trial begins

A Police incident room near the home of murder victim Steven Lynch (Rourke) on Bickershaw Lane, Bickershaw
A Police incident room near the home of murder victim Steven Lynch (Rourke) on Bickershaw Lane, Bickershaw

A GAY Wigan schizophrenic who enjoyed the dangerous fetish of self-asphyxiation was, ironically, strangled to death by a neighbour, a murder trial heard.

The 26-year-old victim Steven Rourke was allegedly killed by James Jepson after Jepson rejected his sexual advances.

Jobless Jepson then hid the body in his wheelie bin and then went out drinking and socialising.

Before the body was found three days later abandoned on waste land by two horrified lads Jepson moved it from place to place.

He was captured on CCTV pulling the bin around and seen by witnesses and confessed to his girlfriend that he had killed Mr Rourke.

But he later told police he could not remember the incident as he had been high on cocaine.

Jepson, also known as Kelly, has pleaded not guilty to murder between March 21 and 26 this year.

Mr Rourke, originally from Scholes, was Jepson’s next door neighbour in Bickershaw Lane, Hindley.

Andrew Menary, QC, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court that Mr Rourke was strangled with a blue washing line which was tightly wrapped round his neck four times and tied at the front.

An expert stated this had been done by someone other than the victim.

Petrol was also found on the victim’s clothing showing that Jepson, 25, had contemplated setting fire to the body, he claimed.

He told the jury that it is believed that Jepson murdered his next door neighbour late on March 22 at Jepson’s home and while it is not known why “it may be something to do with unwanted sexual advances made by Steven Rourke towards the defendant that night to which he reacted by killing him.”

He later tearfully confessed to his girlfriend that he had killed the lad next door after he came onto him “and invited him round for sex as Steven Rourke’s boyfriend was not in.”

He claimed when he refused Mr Rourke came at him and they started fighting and he just wanted to shut him up.

Mr Menary said that Mr Rourke, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was 15, was heavily supported in the community by carers and support workers who visited daily. He was given to making inappropriate sexual remarks and behaviour including to complete strangers.

His body was found on Sunday morning, March 25, upside down in the wheelie bin abandoned on waste land off Bickershaw Lane known as Victoria Fields or Nine Acres. Two lads who spotted it moved carpet underlay in the bin and were horrified to see the sole of a foot, he said.

Before the discovery, witnesses had seen a man pulling the bin around in the area and a dog walker saw it on the waste land the previous evening. He looked inside but did not move the carpet aside.

Mr Menary explained to the jury how the victim regularly engaged in auto-erotic asphyxiation.

“It is a tragic irony and rather a co-incidence that this man should have been killed by this method (strangulation), that the defendant should have chosen that method to kill him.”