Michael Phillips murder trial: Baseball bat found in car seized by police

A baseball bat was found in the boot of a car by police investigating the alleged murder of a Hartlepool man, a court has heard.

Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 5:12 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 12:59 pm

Teesside Crown Court heard the bat was found in the rear of a Mercedes car, which was seized the day after Michael Phillips’ death.

Mr Phillips, 39, of Rydal Street, died after sustaining more than 50 injuries in an assault inside his home on the night of Monday, June 10, last year.

Seven men deny his murder.

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Michael Phillips died in June last year, with seven men standing trial accused of his murder.
Michael Phillips died in June last year, with seven men standing trial accused of his murder.

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.

Darby and Elliott also deny a charge of burglary.

The trial, which started on Tuesday, January 14, could last five weeks and previously heard the disturbance was sparked by the theft of a car belonging to Neil Elliott’s daughter.

Paul Elliott, a crime scene investigator, was called to the stand to go through the evidence of what was found in the Mercedes car, which was seized at 9.40am on June 11 in Tommy Mcguigan Grove in Hartlepool.

Mr Elliott confirmed he had taken a number of swabs from the inside of the car for DNA purposes.

Nicholas Johnson, QC, prosecuting said a black glove was removed from the car and in the front passenger footwell there was a black metal bar, Mr Elliott confirmed this.

Mr Johnson said in the rear of the car were trainers and in the boot there was a long black object, which Mr Elliott said was a fishing pole. There was also a baseball bat, which the jury was shown as an exhibit.

The court heard in the boot of the Mercedes items also included another pair of trainers, wellington boots, a pair of gloves, a wooden plank, a walking stick, a piece of metal and a hat.

In cross-examination, Dominic Thomas, representing Neil Elliott, said the items could be associated with a number of outdoor activities.

He said: "Did you find in the course of your search a small cosh with a leather strap?"

Mr Elliott, the crime scene investigator, said: "I didn't, no."

Witness Robin Lowrie, who lived in Rydal Street, was brought to court to finish his evidence, which began on Monday.

The court had previously heard that Mr Lowrie had called emergency services on the evening of Mr Phillips’ death saying a group had gone into the house with weapons.

Under cross-examination he accepted he had a history of making hoax calls.

The court heard that Mr Lowrie told the police he didn't want to give his name during his call to them as Mr Phillips was being attacked.

Nicholas Johnson QC, prosecuting, said: "Why didn't you want to give your name?"

Mr Lowrie replied: "I knew what would happen if I did."

The case continues.