John Littlewood murder trial: Jury sent out to deliberate verdict for remaining defendant
A murder trial jury are deliberating over what part Tracey Bunney may have played in the death of dad John Littlewood.
The 36-year-old was found dead in his terrace home in Third Street, Blackhall Colliery, on Tuesday, July 30, 2019, having suffered a severe blunt force trauma and a “flurry” of other blows, according to a pathologist.
Bunney, who lived with him in Tenth Street in the village, remains on trial charged with the same offence.
The court has heard the couple drove into a service lane close to Third Street just after midnight on Friday, July 26, and Bates got out of the car, while she drove his BMW back home.
Forty-five-year-old Bunney claims that followed a row between them over his plans to get more drink from the Esso garage, which led to him leaving his car and her driving it back home, lying to police about that journey because she was drunk.
It is the crown’s case that this is when Mr Littlewood, known as John D, was killed.
Bates was captured walking home bare chested, with the remaining clothes he was wearing never found.
Experts say the attack, believed to have involved a hammer, would have left the assailant covered in blood.
It followed an incident the evening before where Bates struck Mr Littlewood over claims he had been kidnapped and beaten by Bates.
Before Judge Paul Watson sent out the jury, Peter Makepeace, representing Bunney, addressed them over the evidence given, referring to the “extraordinary events” as Bates changed his plea.
He noted she had been living with someone they now know is a “vicious, callous murderer” who he had “played like a fiddle” – questioning if Bates was the kind of person to include her in his plans.
He said: "Tracey Bunney was a real and genuine friend of Mr Littlewood.
"She was, you might think, the only person to speak highly of him in this case” adding her evidence was “straight from the heart, it was guileless.”
The jury will continue their deliberations on Thursday.