‘Leg in lake’ trial: Man ‘killed, cut up and dumped after Jackass pranks with accused’

Neill Buchel

Neill Buchel - Credit: Archant

A dad-of-two beaten to death, cut into pieces and dumped in a Rush Green lake took part in Jackass-style pranks with the men accused of killing him, a court heard today.

Neill Buchel, 39, of Braintree Road, Dagenham, died from multiple injuries sustained on the night of March 13 last year, including 25 rib fractures and a haemorrhaged pancreas caused by multiple blunt-force injuries from kicking or stamping actions.

Before of his death, he and the accused frequently recorded “pranks” based on the US TV show, including putting chilli powder on their genitals and burning pubic hair, the court heard.

His housemate Scott Hunt, 41, stands charged with his murder, along with Chas Quye, 36, of Stansgate Road, Dagenham, and Elvis Kwiatowski, 36, of Clopton Close, Royston. Alan Quinn, 28, of Lynette Road, Dagenham, and Colin Bushaway, 61, of Gregory Close, Eltham, both deny conspiring to pervert the course of justice, with Bushaway also charged with preventing unlawful and decent burial of a body.

Buchel had last been seen alive on March 13 when his left thigh was found by young fisherman Liam Taylor in White Hart Lakes in The Chase, Rush Green, on April 1. The fisherman prodded it with a stick thinking it to be a dead fish.

Police recovered a further nine dismembered body parts in the lake two days later, with the torso wrapped in material – thought to be a curtain – and weighed down with stones.

A post-mortem revealed 30 visible bruises to the torso including horse-shoe and squared-off markings allegedly caused by shoes. He also had 30 recent bruises around the eyes, jaw and across the scalp, as well as a fractured shoulder.

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Buchel, originally from South Africa, spent March 13 with a group of friends, including Quye, Hunt, Kwiatowski, as well as his eldest daughter, Megan, the court heard.

Limping and nursing a bloody nose, Buchel told his daughter his associates had hit his kneecaps with a hammer.

Prosecutor Sally O’Neil said: “This is further evidence of the violence they were in the habit of inflicting on Neill Buchel and a precursor of what was to happen later that day.”

Hunt was involved in an altercation with three youths on the same day and arrested by police at about 3pm for being drunk and disorderly, it was said – but he later met up with the group at Quye’s house, where the group were drinking.

Buchel had previously contacted police three months earlier after Hunt and Quye allegedly knocked him unconscious with dumbbell weights, but he refused to press charges following threats to his family, the jury at Blackfriars Crown Court was told.

Hunt claimed Buchel’s injuries had been sustained by falling into a cabinet while carrying out a prank but was given a police caution.

Ms O’Neil said: “This demonstrates an almost-casual attitude to violence.

“That pattern of behaviour continued until the events that caused his death.”

The trial continues.