Date: 18 Nov 1996
Gary Chick was beaten to death in the Sunken Gardens at Marine Parade in Clacton.
A postman was tried for his murder in 1999 but acquitted.
He had been out walking with his girlfriend near Clacton Pier at 2.50am on 18 November 1996 when he was attacked by a group of men wearing masks.
He was beaten with a blunt instrument, thought to have been a metal cosh, and died soon after.
His girlfriend said that the postman had struck Gary Chick over the head with the metal cosh as he was falling forward from another blow.
Gary Chick was a glazier, but also worked as a door steward at the Dr Pepper's pub in Pier Avenue and had been working there shortly before he was attacked. After leaving he had then gone on to meet his fiancee at the Waverley Hall Hotel where he had a drink with her before walking off home with her. He was attacked near to the Venetian Bridge in the gardens.
His girlfriend that had been with him at the time said that she recognised the postman as one of the three men that attacked Gary Chick, but it was heard that her evidence had many flaws and that it was felt that she was being vindictive. It was heard that in her initial story she had said that there had been four attackers and had not mentioned the postman until two years after the attack.
It was heard that the postman had been banned twice from Fibbers nightclub where Gary Chick also worked. The postman was a skinhead and worked as a Royal Mail van driver. He was arrested twice during the investigation but although he admitted that he had been at the Waverley Hall Hotel on the night of 17 November 1996 where Gary Chick and his girlfriend had been having a drink, he said that he had gone home to his place in Berkeley Road and that he had been in bed at the time of the attack, about 2.50am on 18 November 1996.
When the judge summed up, he said to the jury, 'There is no clear picture of what happened, and you cannot use the evidence of Gary Chick's girlfriend to assist. It was not until two years later that she identified the defendant as being the person responsible. Her opportunity of seeing his features at the time was very limited, the lighting was poor, and the incident must have been over in seconds. She could only have had a fleeting glance of the attacker's face. At the time of her statement she said she recognised no-one in the attack. She has purported to have seen people who weren't there. She has constantly changed her version as to the number of people who had taken part in this assault, and the role they were playing. She seems to have expressed vindictive views during the course of the case, perhaps to coincide with the arrest of a man and woman during the investigation'.
The judge added that Gary Chick's girlfriend had been a very distressed person when she had made the e-fit that bore a resemblance to the postman. He then went on to say, 'One is bound to ask who she had in mind at the time the e-fit was made. Was it based on her recollection of him, or on some other information? I have taken the view there are so many flaws in her evidence that if you were to begin to rely on her purported recognition of him it would be extremely dangerous. The only course to take is to totally ignore it, which in effect leaves nothing at all. Somebody killed Gary Chick. You may think that somebody murdered him, but this case reeks of suspicion, and it may well have been fuelled by rumour.'
Gary Chick had an 11-year old daughter. He was described as a non-violent man and as a gentle giant and had no criminal record.
Two days before his death, Gary Chick had been the subject of a newspaper article in which he hit out at a bus company that had threatened court action after his daughter crashed a pedal car into one of their buses.
In September 2017 it was heard that a woman had been involved in a road rage incident with a person who claimed to have been stabbed by the same person that had killed Gary Chick. The woman gave the police dash-cam footage of the incident and the police said that they were looking into it.