Michael Phillips murder trial: Accused denies going into Hartlepool house on evening of man's death

A defendant in the murder trial of Hartlepool man Michael Phillips has denied even going into the house.

Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 5:36 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 11:51 am

John Barry Musgrave, 54, of Hartlepool's Wordsworth Avenue was giving evidence at the trial at Teesside Crown Court.

His barrister Nigel Edwards QC asked him if he had gone into number 38 Rydal Street on the evening of Mr Phillips’ death and he said he hadn’t.

The dad-of-five, who is the carer for his son, said he had driven to Keswick Street with four of the other defendants on trial for murder, his son, Sean Musgrave, Neil Elliott, Lee Darby and Craig Thorpe in Elliott’s car. He said the group had walked into Rydal Street from there.

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Mr Phillips, 39, died on the night of Monday, June 10, 2019, in a house in Rydal Street, Hartlepool where he lived.

Musgrave said Elliott and Darby, who had been joined by two other defendants, Anthony Small and Gary Jackson, had gone into Mr Phillips’ house, but he, Sean Musgrave and Thorpe, were outside, further down the street.

Mr Edwards said: "Could you see what was taking place in the house?" Musgrave said: "Definitely not."

The defendant said the other four were only in the house for a few minutes and they seemed all right after they had come out of the property.

Mr Edwards asked if he had seen any weapons and Musgrave said he had not.

Mr Edwards said: “Did you have any idea anything had happened in number 38?" Musgrave said: "Definitely not."

Prosecutor, Nicholas Johnson QC, in cross-examing Musgrave, said: “You played a central role throughout that day in helping Neil Elliott find those burglars."

Musgrave said: "Definitely not."

Mr Johnson said: "You were one of the last men stamping Mr Phillips to death." Musgrave said: "Definitely not, definitely not."

Seven men all deny murder after Mr Phillips, who was 39, died following an attack where he received more than 50 injuries in a property on Rydal Street, Hartlepool.

They are: Lee Darby, 32, of Ridley Court; Neil Elliott, 44, of Briarfield Close; Gary Jackson, 31, of The Darlings in Hart Village; John Musgrave, 54, of Wordsworth Avenue; Sean Musgrave, 30, also of Wordsworth Avenue; Anthony Small, 40, of Rydal Street, and Craig Thorpe, 36, of Young Street.

The trial continues.