Hartlepool shotgun murder accused says 'weapons' were for cannabis farm and denies he tried to flee UK
A murder suspect has denied being part of a plot to kill a drug dealer who was shot in the head at point-blank range at a house in Hartlepool.
Anxhelo Xaferi visited the house in Charterhouse Street in the days leading up to the killing of Kurdish cannabis dealer Hamawand Ali Hussain in September 2019.
He was also seen buying an axe, blades, gaffer tape, cable ties and nylon rope with another man at a B&Q in Middlesbrough on September 5.
But giving evidence in the murder trial at Teesside Crown Court, Xaferi said the items were in connection with growing cannabis.
And he said he was in Middlesbrough all day on September 14 when Mr Hussain, 30, was murdered.
Nicholas Lumley QC, defending Xaferi, asked him: “Did you think that any of the items would be used to kill anybody?”
Xaferi, 24, who is Greek-Albanian, said: “Of course not.”
He said the cable ties were needed to tighten wires and the rope was for extractor fans.
Xaferi accepted going to the house in Charterhouse Street where he met with other men on September 12 and 13.
He said: “Nobody told me anything at the time but I presumed it was going to be used as a cannabis house.”
Xaferi said he had been involved in another cannabis house in Middlesbrough.
Mr Lumley asked: “Did you believe you had been part of a plan to kill or injure someone that day (September 12)?”
Xaferi said: “Not in any possible way.”
He said he did not go to Hartlepool on the day of the killing, saying: “I was in Middlesbrough all day’”
He added he had no idea what was to happen in Hartlepool and only found out about Mr Hussain’s death when he was arrested four days later.
Xaferi, of Acton Street, Middlesbrough, was also asked about a search he made on his phone for one-way flight to Greece on October 12.
He said he had promised to visit his mother and denied he was trying to flee the country.
He said it was one-way because he did not have much money.
Xaferi denies murder along with Noza Saffari, 39, of Park Lane, Middlesbrough; Dorian Pirija, 33, of Trillo Ave Bolton; and Qazim Marku, 24, of Maxwell Road, West Drayton, London.
The trial continues.