A pimp and his rent boy propositioned a Newport man in a gay bar before killing him in his own home, a court heard. Crime reporter BEN FRAMPTON has the exclusive.

YESTERDAY, Terrence Cook and Tyler Phillips were locked up for the manslaughter and robbery of Newport man Richard Carslake, who was found battered and strangled.

Kitchen hand Mr Carslake, 48, was tied up and had 18 injuries inflicted to his upper body before the pair left him naked, either unconscious or dead, and tied to a fire surround.

Cook, 41, fled to Belgium, where he spent his early life, the following day and sent a text to a friend to say he was going to Ireland in order to throw authorities off his scent, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Peter Murphy told the court that the pair met Mr Carslake at Flaunt, a gay bar in Newport, on March 30, 2011.

Mr Carslake had only moved into his flat in Jeddo Street, Pill, nine days earlier.

Cook ran a prostitution service called Male to Male from his home in Clytha Square, Newport.

Mr Carslake, a gay man, was drinking in the bar, then on Stow Hill, when Cook approached him and asked if he would like to have sex with Phillips, 20, of Samsons Avenue, Varteg, for money.

Mr Murphy said: “There was a deliberate attempt to seduce the deceased, at the time when it was clear he had no money to pay for sex, the plan to rob was formulated.”

Now in the early hours of March 31, it was agreed the three would go to Mr Carslake’s flat.

Once inside, Mr Carslake was tied up with his consent before the three performed sex acts on each other and Phillips used a T-shirt to blindfold him Mr Murphy said “only the two defendants know what actually happened,” as who killed Mr Carslake is disputed and the evidence was unable to confirm definitively which of the men killed him.

What is known is that while bound and blindfolded, he suffered multiple injuries, including bruising and swelling to his eyelids, nose, cheeks, lips, arm, shoulder and lower back.

A lanyard was found around his neck and a post mortem examination found he died from pressure to the neck and possibly suffocation due to his nose and mouth being in contact with the air mattress he was found on.

The killers fled with £80, DVDs and an Acer laptop.

They also took bank cards and in the early hours of March 31, tried to withdraw cash seven times using two of his bankcards at a city centre cash point.

The body was found on April 6 after Mr Carslake’s former partner raised concerns with the landlord, who visited the flat and found the body.

Phillips handed himself into police on April 7 after reading about the discovery of the body on the Argus website and Cook was brought back from Belgium on a European arrest warrant on July 5. It emerged Cook was convicted of sex offences in Belgium in 1993 and was convicted in his absence in 2004 of sexual offences involving teenage boys.

The judge deemed Cook a dangerous offender and gave him an indeterminate sentence with a minimum tariff of five years.

He will not be released until it is deemed he poses no threat to the public.

Phillips was sentenced to seven years in a young offenders’ institution.

Judge hears differing ‘facts’

EVIDENCE was given about the case in a two-and-a-half day trial of issue, also known as a Newton hearing, held in front of High Court Judge Mr Justice Wyn Williams and without a jury.

A Newton hearing happens when defendants plead guilty to an offence, but on the basis of a different version of the facts from that of the prosecution.

If the prosecution and the defence are unable to agree the facts of the offence, a Newton hearing is needed to resolve the dispute and ascertain the correct basis for sentence.

Mr Justice Wyn Williams said he could not say with conviction which of the men strangled Mr Carslake, but said it was “much more probable than not” that it was Cook. He said he was satisfied Cook took a leading role in all that happened.