Hartlepool murder accused denies plan to 'lure cannabis dealer to his death'
An Albanian illegal immigrant denied a claim that he and others pretended to want to use a Hartlepool house for a cannabis farm in order to lure a drug dealer there to kill him.
Qazim Marku, 25, from London, is on trial with three other men at Teesside Crown Court for the murder of alleged cannabis dealer Hamawand Ali Hussain.
Mr Hussain was killed inside a derelict house in Charterhouse Street, Hartlepool, in September 2019 after he was shot at point-blank range with a shotgun.
He may also have been attacked with an axe, the jury has heard.
Prosecutors claim a gang of Albanian drug dealers wanted to take Mr Hussain out, although an exact motive for the killing is unknown.
In his defence, Marku has said that he was at the house with a number of other men when Mr Hussain was killed, but says he was upstairs and did not see it.
Marku and four others visited the house on Friday, September 13, the day before the murder.
Under cross examination, prosecutor Francis FitzGibbon QC, suggested the purpose of the visit was to do ‘reconnaissance’ and plan the following day’s attack on Mr Hussain.
Marku said he was there just for cannabis preparations.
Mr FitzGibbon put it to him: “The purpose was to see if it could pass as a cannabis farm to trick Mr Hussain into thinking it would be used as one.”Marku, of Maxwell Road, West Drayton, denied that was the case.
The trial continues.