Michael Phillips murder trial: First police officers on scene say gang of men 'were calm'

Men on a Hartlepool street where a man died after an attack told officers “we’ve been doing the police’s job” as they arrived to investigate, a jury heard.

Saturday, 25th January 2020, 8:00 am

Seven men deny his murder.

The defendants 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.

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The trial of seven men charged with the murder of Michael Phillips, 39, at a house in Rydal Street, Hartlepool, is ongoing at Teesside Crown Court.
The trial of seven men charged with the murder of Michael Phillips, 39, at a house in Rydal Street, Hartlepool, is ongoing at Teesside Crown Court.

Darby and Elliott also deny a charge of burglary.

The incident is said to have stemmed from the theft of a car belonging to Elliott’s daughter.

The court has previously heard Mr Phillips died after sustaining more than 50 injuries, including to his head and torso, following a brawl in his home.

Men had entered the house, showed him and housemate Lee Hardwell CCTV and demanded to see Mr Phillps’s shoes and jacket during the confrontation.

Pc David Angel and Pc David Green said they were called to Rydal Street just before 9pm on Monday, June 10, last year, after a report of a disturbance in the street involving 10 men and a pole or bar.

The officers saw a number of men, with one group already walking away and five others standing in the street.

As they stopped to speak, they identified one as Darby, while another wore overall-type trousers and a sweatshirt bearing a white and red motif, and held a silver Apple laptop with a memory stick in it.

Pc Angel said he heard the phrase “We’ve been doing the police’s job for them” while his colleague heard the same but referring to “They.”

When the officers saw no signs the men had been involved in disorder, they were allowed to leave.

Pc Angel said: “They were calm, there were no weapons on them that I could see, there was no disturbance in the street, they weren’t heavy breathing or sweating as if they were somebody who had been involved in a disturbance.”

The officers were then called over to a house, where they found Mr Phillips hurt.

They said neither he or his housemate would say who had attacked them and Mr Phillips began to fit.

Despite the efforts of paramedics and police, he could not be saved.

The trial will resume at 11am on Monday, January 27.