A murder suspect has made his first court appearance after being charged with the killing of Hartlepool man Michael Phillips.
The 39-year-old was found dead at a property in the town’s Rydal Street on Monday, June 10. Cleveland Police said he suffered “significant injuries” prior to his death.
Niramax director, Neil Elliott, 44, of Briarfields Close, Hartlepool, was charged by officers on Thursday, June 13 and made his first appearance in court on Friday, June 14.
He was charged with murder, burglary dwelling, with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. Elliott was remanded in custody and will appear at Teesside Crown Court on Tuesday, June 17.
What happened during the hearing at Teesside Magistrates’ Court
Elliott appeared before magistrates at Teesside at 10am on Friday, June 14. Dressed in a dark hoodie, the 44-year-old spoke only to confirm his name and address from the dock.
Prosecutor Ansab Shan told the bench that the case should be sent to crown court, “given the nature of the charges”. Elliott’s defence solicitor David Harbron made no submissions before magistrates, and said he would speak at the next hearing at Teesside Crown Court.
Chairman of the bench Jay Leonard sent the case to crown court, and adjorned proceedings until June 17.
What else is happening with the investigation?
In addition to Elliott, eight other men have been arrested as part of police inquiries.
Five men, who are aged between 30 and 54 and were arrested on suspicion of murder earlier this week, have now been released under investigation. Two other men were released with no further action.
The eighth man, aged 26, who was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender, has been released under investigation.
Residents told the Mail of their shock earlier this week when news of the crime came to light. Postman Phil Ansell, who lives in Rydal Street, said on Tuesday, June 11: “I saw police in the street at 7am when I left for work.