A dad who died after being attacked in the street was due to stand trial over claims he raped a teenager 30 years ago, the Echo can reveal.

John Masser, 49, from Vange, lost his fight for life on Tuesday after being attacked at the junction of Moss Drive and Moss Close, in Basildon, on Sunday evening.

Neighbours said they heard a commotion outside at 6.20pm and saw a man being assaulted.

Mr Masser was taken to Basildon Hospital but died of a suspected brain haemorrhage three days later.

It is understood that he was leaving a friend’s house when he was set upon close to the property.

Mr Masser, a father-of-three, was well-known by Basildon’s homeless community and had spent time living rough.

But he also appeared at Basildon Crown Court last month, where he denied carrying out a sex attack on a 16-year-old in 1986.

During the hearing, it was agreed that he could be released on bail- with the condition he did not have any contact with the alleged victim.

The court heard how both Shauna Ritchie, for the defence and Cyrus Schroff, for the prosecution, agreed that the case should be handled sooner rather than later.

Mr Masser strongly refuted the allegation and was set to stand trial on November 27.

Residents in Moss Drive spoke of their shock and described the road as looking “like a murder scene”.

One woman, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s getting bad around here. There was a woman outside egging them on and there were children watching it all and screaming. It was awful.

“The police were there all night, it looked like a murder scene. The council and police need to look into the anti-social behaviour.”

Another resident said: “It is a shock that something like this has happened but it is not a big surprise anymore.

“We have had fights happening in the road between people and it is a very different place to when we first moved here. If we knew it would be like this, we would not have moved.”

A member of Mr Masser’s family told the Echo he had asked for police protection and to be sectioned because of mental health problems.

An Essex Police spokesman said: “A 36-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in police custody for questioning.”

He said he could not comment on claims that Mr Masser had asked for protection.

The spokesman confirmed the case has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

An IPCC spokesman said: “We have received a referral regarding this case and it will now undergo careful assessment to determine the level of our involvement.”

Anyone with information can contact the North Major Crime office on 01206 576845, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.