A coin collector was stabbed to death in his home by a fellow enthusiast who wanted his limited edition Beatrix Potter 50p pieces, a court heard on Monday.
The 50p coins are worth more than their face value and have become popular amongst collectors in recent years.
Gordon McGhee, 52, was found dead with 14 knife wounds including some to his face in his flat, which the attacker had allegedly tried to burn down before fleeing.
Danny Bostock, 33, who knew Mr McGhee and shared his hobby of collecting coins was later arrested.
Much of McGhee’s coin collection, including the prized Beatrix Potter coins, were never recovered, the court heard.
Beatrix Potter coins targeted
Opening the trial at Ipswich Crown Court, prosecutor Andrew Jackson described the attack as “determined and brutal”.
He said Bostock wanted the coin collection having swapped his own Beatrix Potter coins with other people in the area in the hours before the alleged murder in Colchester, Essex in August.
He said: “It was in the early hours of Wednesday, August 22 last year that this defendant Danny Bostock went to the home of Gordon McGhee.
“He went there to burgle Mr McGhee’s home.
“He was disturbed during the course of the burglary by Mr McGhee and so he murdered Mr McGhee by stabbing him several times.
“He stabbed Mr McGhee 14 times to his face, neck and upper body.
“Two of the stab wounds penetrated deep into his chest and lungs causing massive bleeding.
“These injuries were catastrophic and killed Mr McGhee.
“He left Mr McGhee lying [in] his own blood in his own home and tried to destroy the flat by fire.
“He wanted to destroy Mr McGhee’s body and all traces of what he had done.
“He was arrested later and when questioned, Danny Bostock denied any involvement in it.”
The vast majority of Mr McGhee’s prize coin collection were taken from his flat and have never been recovered, while a knife used in the attack is also still missing.
Mr Jackson said Bostock, 33, wanted to cause an explosion to destroy Mr McGhee’s body.
He said: “In the kitchen he turned on the gas on the oven and just let it flow freely.
“He then took a towel and lit it leaving it lying on the floor in the hallway and did it immediately before he left.
“He did that to try and cause a gas explosion.”
Mr Jackson said Bostock, from Colchester, had been seen on CCTV cycling away from the area wearing a pink Diesel t-shirt and a distinctive pair of brown Lonsdale trainers.
He added forensic experts had linked the trainers to blood left in the flat, which Bostock had then thrown away.
His DNA was also found on the cloth which had been lit.
Mr McGhee’s blood was also found on the left pedal of Bostock’s GT Aggressor mountain bike.
Bostock denies murder and attempted arson.
Neighbours make horrific discovery
Horrified neighbours found Gordon McGhee’s dead body in his home with the gas taps on his cooker on full flow, the court heard.
In the hours before his death, Mr McGhee – and the accused Danny Bostock – socialised with two of his female neighbours in the courtyard of his block of flats, it was said.
Mr McGhee was helped to bed by a one of the women in the group after he drank too much and she too went home too, it was heard.
But in the early hours, Mr McGhee returned to the group and asked for cannabis.
He took it back to his flat, but he didn’t lock the door, it was said.
The party broke up when one of the women cut herself and a taxi took her to Colchester Hospital, leaving Bostock outside the flats alone, the court heard.
Andrew Jackson, prosecuting, said: “That morning a delivery driver from Boots arrived at the flats with some medication.
“Mr McGhee would usually come out but on this occasion he didn’t.
“Shortly after 2.30pm his neighbours knocked on the door.
“It was unlocked, so they went inside and made the grim discovery of Mr McGhee’s body and the gas taps on his cooker were on full flow.
“The body was cold to the touch and had multiple stab wounds.”
The trial, which is expected to last three weeks, continues.