A STUDENT was beaten unconscious, stripped naked and thrown off a balcony during a New Year's Eve party, a court has heard.

Billy Henham was subject to a “sustained and significant” assault in a disused building in Brighton in the early hours of January 1, 2020.

Just hours before his death, the 24-year-old, from Henfield, had been “singing, dancing and smiling” at Concorde 2.

A court heard Billy suffered 11 rib fractures, extensive bruising to his scalp, face, and neck, cuts and a brain injury - all consistent with being punched, kicked and stamped on.

The student was also struck with a broken wooden stair spindle.

His body was then dropped over balcony railings from a height of just under 11ft and stripped of his clothes.

The Argus: Billy Henham Billy Henham

Forensic experts discovered disinfectant in Billy’s hair while bloodstained areas where he had been beaten appeared to have been “diluted”, the court heard.

His clothes, apart from a red pair of Puma trainers, were never recovered.

His body was discovered by police the following day on a recess area of a roof terrace at a former office block, hotel and restaurant complex in North Street.

The jury at Maidstone Crown Court was told that while his injuries would have rendered him unconscious, Billy would have been alive for at least an hour after the violent attack.

Lamech Gordon-Carew, 20, Gregory Hawley, 28, Dushane Meikle, 27, and 18-year-old Alize Spence are on trial accused of his murder.

Gordon-Carew, Hawley and Spence were arrested at another squat in Brighton on January 3 last year.

When Meikle was arrested in Hove six days later, police found two deleted photos on his phone of Billy’s body on the roof terrace.

The first was of him partially clothed and laying on his left side. The second showed him naked, laying on his back, and in a different area of the recess.

The prosecution said that although the motive for his alleged murder was “unclear”, it was later claimed Billy had been killed “for being lairy”.

The Argus: Billy Henham Billy Henham

At the trial, prosecutor James Mulholland QC said: "William Henham was subjected to a sustained assault before his body was dropped over a balcony and he was found naked, laying on his back on a low-level outdoor roof terrace.

"Shortly after his death, two of the defendants - Gregory Hawley and Lamech Gordon-Carew - boasted to others about what they had done to Mr Henham.

"The prosecution case is that each defendant either joined in the physical attack upon William Henham or deliberately helped or encouraged one or more of the others to do so.

"Each intended in doing so that he be caused at least really serious injury and they are all guilty of murder."

Billy, who studied at Ravensbourne University, had spent Christmas with his family but wanted to see in the new year in a “lively” atmosphere, the court heard.

He was dropped off in Brighton by his father at about 7.30pm and by 2am was at the Concorde 2, where a doorman later described him to police as being “happy enough, in a world of his own”.

"He was jigging about to the drum and bass music and singing to himself. He wasn't causing any harm and had a half smile on his face," said the prosecutor.

By 4.30am, CCTV captured the last sighting of him alive, outside the All Sorts off-licence in North Street.

The store was diagonally opposite the squat where a party was being held by the “tenants”, and where Billy would be dead within a few hours.

One of those living in the building later told police that as he and his partner looked on the first floor for a place to bed down for the night, he heard a male voice screaming in pain from inside one of the rooms.

A man he later identified as Meikle then opened the door and bluntly told him to “F*** off”.

Hawley, the court heard, appeared to “run” the squat and was in charge of deciding who visited and stayed, and was seen a few hours after the alleged murder with a bottle of disinfectant in one hand and a cloth in the other, saying he had to “clean up the mess”.

The Argus: Billy Henham Billy Henham

The court heard Hawley also “orchestrated” everyone abandoning the squat on January 1 - the day before Billy’s body was found and three days before they were legally required to do so by an eviction notice.

Meikle told police on his arrest that he had found Billy’s naked body in the recess while he had been exploring the building.

He said he gave it a nudge but there was no response and returned to the party.

"He said he didn't call the emergency services because he was worried he would not be believed and would be jailed for something he had not done," said Mr Mulholland.

Meikle, of Amberley Drive, Hove, Gordon-Carew, of Cheeseman Close, Hampton, Middlesex, Hawley, of no fixed address, and Spence, of Makepeace Road, Northolt, Middlesex, all deny murder.

Their trial is expected to last six weeks.