Murder suspect Mark Ellson has admitted he was responsible for the death of Northampton pensioner Giuseppe Miceli.
But he says he is guilty only of a lesser offence of manslaughter because he did not intend to kill or seriously injure him.
Coin dealer Mr Miceli, aged 71, died at his home in Bants Lane, Northampton, on Friday, July 12 last year, following a dispute with 41-year-old Ellson.
Giving evidence, Northampton Crown Court, Ellson was asked by his lawyer, William Harbage QC, if he admitted striking Mr Miceli on the head a number of times, whether that action was unlawful and whether Mr Miceli died as a result of the injuries sustained.
In response to each question, Ellson replied: “Yes.”
He said he had visited Mr Miceli’s home on a number of occasions because he wanted a watch valued. He said he later realised he did not have his passport in his possession and thought he must have dropped it at Mr Miceli’s house.
But he said the pensioner refused to return it to him, causing the two to row on that and a number of subsequent visits.
Mr Harbage asked Ellson why he had conducted internet searches for phrases including “how hard hit someone knock them out back of head hammer”, to which Ellson replied: “It was a very stupid way of thinking about getting my passport back.”
He told the jury his intention was to daze Mr Miceli, giving him a chance to take back his passport. But as the two argued again, Ellson said Mr Miceli started shouting at him and hitting him with a stick, so he picked up a mallet he said he found in Mr Miceli’s house.
“I swung around with my right hand and caught him on the side of the face,” he added. “It was on the temple.”
He said he kept swinging his hand with the mallet in, and struck Mr Miceli four or five times. But he insisted he did not think Mr Miceli was badly hurt, and said he threw the pensioner a towel to mop up two “trickles” of blood on his cheek.
Ellson said it was only some days later that he realised something was seriously wrong when he saw forensic teams at Mr Miceli’s house.
Prosecutors say Ellson deliberately killed Mr Miceli, and his motive was to get money from him.
They allege Ellson hit Mr Miceli to the back of the head while he was sitting in his chair, left his house, and returned. Then it is said he noticed Mr Miceli had moved, so hit him again while he was on the floor.
Christopher Donnellan QC, prosecuting, said the prosecution did not accept Mr Miceli was “waving his walking stick” at Ellson.
He said Ellson planned to kill Mr Miceli on July 11, but “bottled it,” instead returning the following day with the mallet, which the prosecution say he took with him.
Mr Donnellan said: “You were intending to kill him, weren’t you? You never wanted him to get up again. You hit him over the head time after time after time.
“You never planned to kill him, but when it came to it, that was what you did. You completed the job. You killed him deliberately.”
The jury also heard former serviceman Ellson was court-martialed by the Royal Navy in 1996 for a variety of fraud, forgery and thefts, and thrown out of the service. They were also told that he has more than 170 convictions for dishonesty offences.
Addressing the defendant’s dishonesty, Mr Donnellan said: “You can’t even remember the lies you tell, can you?
“You start a lie rolling and you keep it rolling. You lie when it is convenient to lie. For many years you have been lying to get what you want, to cheat people, to spin stories.”
The trial continues.