A STUDENT was beaten to death in a “torture chamber” before being thrown off a balcony at a New Year's Eve party, a court has heard.

Billy Henham was allegedly beaten unconscious, stripped naked and thrown off a balcony at a disused building in the middle of Brighton on January 1, 2020.

The 24-year-old, from Henfield, suffered 11 rib fractures, extensive bruising to his scalp, face and neck and a brain injury, all consistent with being punched, kicked and stamped on.

He was also struck with a broken wooden stair spindle.

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

The Argus: The scene of Billy Henham's murder The scene of Billy Henham's murder

Giving evidence, Phillip Mallia, one of those squatting in the four-storey building in North Street, recalled hearing screams from “someone in pain” from inside a room before the door opened and he was told “f*** off”.

Mr Mallia, 28, said he saw Hawley, believed to have been in charge of the squat, with a bleach bottle and cloth just feet from the same room a few hours later.

"Gregory said 'I've got to clean up some blood because someone got seriously hurt last night'. He was on his way to the torture chamber, the room where I heard the screaming," Mr Mallia said.

Mr Mallia said he and his partner were told by Hawley that he had been involved in a killing, and how he had then described the efforts made to destroy any forensic evidence.

"Gregory said we couldn't stay there. I said 'Why?' and he said 'We killed someone last night'. I was like 'Yeah mate, whatever'. I didn't believe him," he told the jury.

"He said 'We killed someone last night'. Not 'I', but 'We'. He said we couldn't stay there and as we were going he said 'We had to finish him off because he heard my name. Someone said my name'.

"I thought he was chatting s**t. He was boasting about it, seemed really happy. He said 'We stripped the body, I poured bleach over the body, and we threw the body out of the third-floor window'.

"He invited me to see the body. I said 'No, I don't want to see the body'. But I didn't believe him, to tell you the truth. I thought he was lying, but obviously not."

The Argus: Billy Henham, 24 Billy Henham, 24

Billy’s body was dropped over balcony railings from a height of nearly 11ft and stripped of his clothes.

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

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.

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

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 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, 24 Billy Henham, 24

Billy, who studied at Ravensbourne University in London, 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”.

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 Billy was found dead.

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.