Hartlepool shotgun murder accused told police victim was his friend and was alive when he left him
One of the last people to see a man shot at a house in Hartlepool denied any involvement in his murder when quizzed by police.
Noza Saffari is on trial at Teesside Crown Court along with three other Albanian men accused of the murder of Hamawand Ali Hussain at a derelict house in Charterhouse Street on September 14 in 2019.
The court has heard evidence that Mr Hussain, who is said to have been involved in cannabis houses, was killed after being shot with a shotgun at point-blank range and may also have been attacked with an axe.
When interviewed by police two days after the killing, Saffari said Mr Hussain was his friend who asked him to go from Middlesbrough to Hartlepool that day to shift some furniture from a house.
Saffari, 39, who described himself as a handyman, said Mr Hussain picked him up in his car in the Oxford Road area and drove the short distance to Charterhouse Street.
He said there were eight or nine men inside the house when they entered and that someone locked the door behind them.
Saffari said he went in the kitchen to smoke a cigarette while Mr Hussain talked with a number of the men about business, though Saffari said drugs were not discussed.
After a few minutes he said he was told by Mr Hussain to go with a number of the men.
Saffari said: “He said ‘I see you. You go with them and I see you soon.’”
He said he and four of the men from the house walked to a black 4x4 vehicle parked nearby and got in.
Police asked Saffari: “Noza, did you murder Hamawand?”
Saffari said: “No.”
The officer added: “Did you assault him, were you violent towards him?”
Again Saffari, of Acton Road, Middlesbrough, denied it.
He said he only found out Mr Hussain had been killed when some men turned up at his house the following night.
Saffari said to police: “I swear to God I didn’t know. I said ‘are you sure?’
"These guys say ‘no, no, we say you did it’.”
Police also asked Saffari if someone had asked him to take Mr Hussain to the house. He said Mr Hussain took him there and he had no idea why he was killed.