'Get him in the boot' - Neighbour's police witness interview played to John Littlewood murder trial

John Littlewood’s neighbour saw people try to kick their way into his home before hearing them discuss putting someone in a car boot days before his body was discovered, a murder trial has heard.

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 6:28 pm

In a recorded police interview with Jacqueline Magee played to Teesside Crown Court said she saw Marty Bates, Tracey Bunney and another couple at the next door in Third Street, Blackhall Colliery, on the night of Sunday, July 28, 2019.

The 36-year-old was found dead in his bed the Tuesday after by his ex-partner, the court has heard.

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John Littlewood, known as John D, was found dead inside his house in Third Street, Blackhall Colliery, on Tuesday, July 30, 2019.

It was established he died of head injuries, with the prosecution’s case that Bates, 31, beat him to death, after Bunney, 45, drove him to the back of Mr Littlewood’s home after midnight on Friday, July 26.

The couple, of Tenth Street in the village, deny murder.

Ms Magee went to her door on the Sunday night when a family member alerted her to a disturbance.

She heard “banging and shouting” as the group kicked the door, telling her they wanted to check on Mr Littlewood.

Bates commented to her: “I don’t know why you’re bothered, you didn’t like him any way” which the neighbour told police she had thought was out of place because she said “didn’t” rather than “don’t”.

The visitors got into Mr Littlewood’s via the unlocked back door and the dark BMW they arrived in was driven into the back lane.

Ms Magee went into a back bedroom, overlooking Mr Littlewood’s yard, to tidy and said she had not seen Bates or Bunney enter next door.

She said: “I didn’t want to get involved, I closed the curtains and heard a Scouse lad shouting ‘Open the boot, get him in the boot’ and Marty said ‘I want nothing to do with it’.”

She later noticed damage to the handrails outside Mr Littlewood’s front door.

The court also heard evidence from Bunney’s sister Nicola Bunney, who met Mr Littlewood, known as John D, through her sibling.

She was asked about an incident on Thursday, July 25, when she was told Bunney, Bates and other couple were with Mr Littlewood and he was struck by Bates, causing an eye injury.

Ms Bunney was told the man in the other couple claimed “John has been lying.”

The trial continues.

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