Blackhall murder trial to begin today as three accused of murdering much-loved Blackhall dad John Littlewood to face court

A crown court trial will today begin to hear evidence in the murder trial of a popular dad from Blackhall Colliery.

Monday, 15th March 2021, 9:48 am

Durham Constabulary confirmed it had launched a murder inquiry two days after the discovery of John Littlewood inside a house in Blackhall Colliery on the evening of Tuesday, July 30, 2019.

A police cordon remained in place outside the terrace house in Third Street in the village, with a series of searches carried out in the community in the days and weeks after the tragedy.

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John Littlewood, 36, known as John D, was found dead inside a house in Third Street, Blackhall Colliery, on the evening of Tuesday, July 30, 2019.
John Littlewood, 36, known as John D, was found dead inside a house in Third Street, Blackhall Colliery, on the evening of Tuesday, July 30, 2019.

They included household bins and allotments in the area, while an armed operation was carried out in Hartlepool and a search of a house in South Shields carried out by detectives.

Hours of CCTV footage were reviewed by officers, while house-to-house inquiries were made in the village, with around 50 detectives, crime scene investigators, uniformed officers and other staff working on the investigation as it began.

Today, Monday, March 15, after significant delays to the case caused by the coronavirus pandemic, a trial expected to last around three weeks will begin at Teesside Crown Court.

The three defendants set to stand trial come from the village.

They are Donna Balfour, Ninth Street, 36, Marty Bates, 31, and Tracey Amanda Bunney, 45, both of Tenth Street, all of whom have been charged with murder.

His dad John said: “John D had a heart of gold, he would do anything for anyone.

"We just don't know why this has happened to him.

"I've lost a son, his siblings have lost their brother and his children have lost their dad. Please help us find who has done this to him.

"This could be your son.

"Someone out there must know something.

"We just want justice for John D and whoever did this to him caught soon.”

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