A vulnerable man died after months of torture including being forced to eat one of his testicles, a court heard.
Jimmy Prout, 45, was subjected to months of “Dark Ages” abuse by a group he thought were his friends, the jury at Newcastle Crown Court was told.
Ann Corbett, 26, Zahid Zaman, 43, Myra Wood, 50, and Kay Rayworth, 56, of North Shields, deny murder and allowing the death of a vulnerable adult.
The four pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.
Knocked teeth out
The jury heard the group had a strange relationship with Mr Prout that developed an almost “cultish dimension”.
However, it is alleged a series of events in late 2015 created tensions which led to serious assaults against the father-of-two, including knocking out his teeth.
Paul Greaney QC, prosecuting, said: “Over a period of time, Jimmy Prout was not just mistreated, he was tortured.
“The defendants took part in that violence either inflicting injuries directly or assisting or encouraging the other members of the group to do so.”
Dumped on wasteland
Mr Greaney said the evidence suggested Mr Prout died on 9 February 2016, and that his body was dumped on wasteland 100 metres from his home where it began to decompose and was partly eaten by animals.
The group then allegedly tried to cover their tracks, asking people if they had seen Mr Prout while pretending to look for him.
The court heard how, on 25 March, police received a call from Mr Zaman in which he claimed Ms Corbett had attacked him and killed Mr Prout, in an attempt to “throw her to the wolves”.
On attending St Stephen’s Way, North Tyneside, officers found Mr Zaman, Ms Rayworth and Ms Wood, who claimed to have letters written by Corbett confessing to the murder.
Mr Greaney told jurors it was “pure theatre” and invention because they all knew Mr Prout had been dead for more than six weeks.
He said Mr Prout was “repeatedly assaulted and subjected to dreadful indignities”.
“They accept that Jimmy Prout was assaulted, but each of them wishes to reduce his or her own involvement in events, seeking to blame one or more of the others.
“In truth they were in it together,” he added.
The trial continues.