A MAN charged with murdering a dad-of-three after a street attack had his head in his hands before walking into the dock.

Steven Keeble, 36, of Moss Close, Vange, appeared at Basildon Magistrates’ Court yesterday charged in connection with the death of John Masser, 49.

Keeble was arrested by Essex Police after Mr Masser was attacked at about 5.30pm in Moss Close on Sunday.

Mr Masser, who was due to stand trial over claims he raped a teenager 30 years ago, was taken to Basildon Hospital with severe head injuries and fought for his life for two days.

He died on Tuesday night of a suspected brain haemorrhage.

Following his appearance before magistrates, Keeble was remanded in custody to appear at Chelmsford Crown Court today.

Court clerk Robert Ball said to magistrate Paul Fisher: “There is an application to send this matter to the crown court.

“I understand there is a date available for tomorrow at Chelmsford Crown Court.”

Wearing a red prison-issue jumper, Keeble was visibly upset as he was shown into the court by a security guard.

He wiped his eyes as he walked in.

He spoke only to confirm his name, age and address. He did not enter a plea.

He had short brown hair and a small tattoo on the right side of his neck.

Two members of Keeble’s family were sat in the public gallery looking on as he was told he will appear in court today.

Mr Ball said: “We advise you make the date for the first hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court, by way of video link.

“Because of the nature of the case, it should not be heard in Basildon.”

Mr Fisher said: “Keeble, if there is anything you do not understand, please ask your legal advisor.

“The only choice we have is to see you at Chelmsford Crown Court by video link.”