A Lewisham pimp who was violently murdered fiercely fought his attackers as he was tied up and beaten in his bathroom, an inquest heard.

Earl Warburton, 59, died in the early hours of February 15, 2012 in his flat in Loampit Hill, Lewisham.

A well-known character in the area, Mr Warburton - also known as Duke - ran two brothels, one known as the Madonnas from that address and one in Plumstead Common.

On the night he died Mr Warburton was with four prostitutes when four men entered the flat through a second door usually reserved for clients.

They ordered the women to lie down facing the floor.

Two suspects grabbed Mr Warburton and tried to restrain him, before dragging him to the bathroom.

MORE TOP STORIES Detective Sergeant Matthew Read, from the Met Police’s homicide and major crime command, said: “He was seriously beaten around the face and head.

“Items such as a brick or a statue of a head may have been used to inflict these injuries.

“[He] was violently overpowered and subdued by his attackers but not without some considerable resistance.

“We can see that from the evidence that they’ve had to restrain him using duct tape and cable ties. Mr Warburton was a fairly big man.

“The flat was also ransacked thoroughly. During the search suspects demanded to know where the money was being kept.”

Eventually the men left, and after a while the hookers felt safe to get up.

Two of them fled, and one has never been traced.

One of the two remaining call-girls ventured into the bathroom where she said Mr Warburton felt like “a sack of potatoes”, and there was blood coming from his head.

One of the women, who did not speak English, tried to phone for help but mistook the emergency number for 911.

The other rushed to a nearby Tesco where she summoned the night worker who tried in vain to give CPR.

When paramedics arrived they reported seeing “blood run down his mouth, his eyes and face are swollen and there’s blood in his nostrils”.

A post-mortem examination found three key injuries - a head injury, a fractured nose and a compressed neck.

Traces of cannabis were also found in his system.

He breathed in blood from his broken nose, and was unconscious from the blows to the head and neck compression, which could have been caused by choking.

All three factors contributed to his death.

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The scene was cordoned off

The report also acknowledged bruises and grazes on his arms which matched someone trying to defend themselves against blows to the head.

Yesterday (July 30) at Southwark Coroner’s Court, coroner Lorna Tagliavini recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.

Mr Warburton’s murderers have never been found and a £20,000 reward remains for information leading to the identification, arrest and prosecution of those responsible.

Anyone with information should call the incident room on 020 8721 4868.