CHARGES have been dropped against a man accused of murdering a dad-of-two on Canvey as the trial into his death enters its third week.

Keith Aransibia, 59, was charged with the murder of Matt Portwood, 42, after he died from two stab wounds to his neck.

The death has been linked to a brawl which began outside the Haystack Pub, in Furtherwick Road, on February 4.

Keith Aransibia, of no fixed address, was charged alongside his nephew Keiron Aransibia, 28, Evelyn Denington Road, London, and Jamie Lewis, 24, of Bensham Lane, Croydon.

Yesterday, at Basildon Crown Court, charges against Keith Aransibia were dropped and he was released from custody.

The trial originally began on September 12 and is expected to last at least another ten days.

Cyrus Shroff, prosecuting, said: “As the court knows, Keith Aransibia is a defendant on this indictment.

“The crown has given careful consideration to the way the evidence has developed in this case.

“As a result, a conclusion has been reached that we will not be inviting the jury to convict this defendant.”

The jury was addressed by a court clerk and a not-guilty verdict was given for Keith Aransibia.

He was then removed from the dock and released from custody as the hearing continued.

Previous hearings saw the crown identify Jamie Lewis as the man who “struck the fatal blow to the neck”.

Mr Shroff added: “The crown says Keiron Aransibia threw the first punch at 1.27, with Keith following.

“Keith then re-entered the bar and made a ‘beeline’ for Mr Lewis, who joined the fight.

“Another witness said Jamie Lewis appeared to make ‘unusual movements’ in his trousers as if he was ‘searching for something’.”

Opening the trial last week, the crown claimed Lewis tried to buy a drink from the pub whilst “covered in blood” but he was refused service.

During a phone call with Lewis, Keiron Aransibia was heard repeatedly saying “I’m going to get nicked”.

The trial continues at Basildon Crown Court, with defence lawyers set to present their case in the coming days.