A HOMELESS man has admitted murdering another rough sleeper.

The man who was arrested and charged under the name Sergio Lemori appeared at Lewes Crown Court today and pleaded guilty to murdering fellow rough sleeper Andrew O’Connell, 54, in the historic Royal Pavilion Gardens in Brighton.

He had previously denied the charge, telling the court he wanted to be known by his real name of Sima Asif Hamzda.

During a brief court hearing yesterday, Lemori spoke only to signal a guilty plea to a single count of murder.

Dressed in a grey tracksuit top, and dark trousers, he smiled, giggled and played with his hair in the dock as the judge, Christine Laing QC, ordered that he be sentenced on January 21, the day his trial had been due to begin.

Details of the attack were not discussed in court, but Judge Laing said: “This is not an easy case in an any regards.”

The judge added that there was CCTV footage which showed the assault which led to Mr O’Connell’s death.

The 32-year-old attacked Mr O’Connell at around 11.55pm on August 7.

Mr Lemori was adopted in Brazil by Italian parents, the court heard previously.

The Royal Pavilion Gardens and the museum were closed while a cordon was set up and the forensics officers searched the scene on Wednesday, August 8.

Mr Lemori was arrested in nearby Church Street at 9pm as part of Operation Dickenson.

Mr O’Connell, originally from Kent, was rough sleeping in Brighton when the incident broke out.

The Argus:

Andrew O'Connell

His family said: “He was a kind, intelligent man with a free spirit who loved to travel.

“We are utterly devastated, hurt and angry that he has been taken so cruelly from us.”