Jury sworn in on first day of murder trial into death of Blackhall dad John Littlewood

Members of a jury have been told they will try a “serious and important case” as they were sworn in on the first day of the murder trial into the death of John Littlewood.

Monday, 15th March 2021, 5:45 pm

The 36-year-old was found dead inside a house in Third Street, Blackhall Colliery, on Tuesday, July 30, 2019.

It was established the dad, known as John D, had died due to head injuries he sustained.

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John Littlewood, 36, known as John D, was found dead inside a house in Third Street, Blackhall Colliery.

Marty Lee Bates, 31, and Tracey Amanda Bunney, 45, both of Tenth Street in the village deny Mr Littlewood’s murder, which is said to have happened between Friday, July 26, and Wednesday, July 21, 2019.

Donna Balfour, 36, of Ninth Street, denies perverting the course of justice between Friday, July 26, and Friday, August 2, 2019, and witness intimidation on Monday, July 29.

The 12 jurors were sworn in and told to expect the case to be opened during the course of tomorrow, Tuesday, March 16.

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Judge Paul Watson, the Recorder of Middlesbrough, told them they hear “complex" details as they listened into the “serious and important case.”

Mr Littlewoods death shocked the close-knit community of Blackhall, with scores of flowers left outside the house in the wake of the tragedy.

The investigation, which saw 50 detectives, crime scene investigators, uniformed officers and other staff work the inquiry as it began, led to police operations in Hartlepool and South Shields.

Searches continued in the days and weeks following the discovery of Mr Littlewood, including allotments nearby, while bin collections were put on hold, drone searches were carried out across the area and hours of CCTV footage were reviewed as they pieced together information.

He said his son had a “heart of gold” and urged those with information to come forward after the family, including Mr Littlewood’s siblings and his own children had been ledt devastated by their loss.

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