Michael Phillips murder trial: Housemate tells of attack as men entered their Hartlepool home armed with weapons

The housemate of a Hartlepool man who died after suffering more than 50 injuries in a brutal attack has recounted how men entered their home and rounded on his friend.

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 5:35 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 6:08 pm

The 39-year-old died on the night of Monday, June 10, last year after he was attacked at the home the pals shared in Rydal Street.

Mr Hardwell was questioned by three defence barristers as his evidence entered its second day, following on from his account given to the prosecution earlier this week.

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The trial of seven Hartlepool men charged with the murder of Michael Phillps is underway at Teesside Crown Court.

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.

Darby and Elliott also deny a charge of burglary.

The attack is said to have been sparked off by the theft of a car belonging to Elliott’s daughter.

Mr Hardwell was asked about an earlier attack, in August 2018, when he was assaulted in the street by a man he knows as ‘Dibsy’ and he told the jury he believed the same man was involved in the fatal incident at his home.

The court heard Mr Hardwell was a drinker who also used heroin, with the drug taken by the friends earlier in the day.

The witness said they bought drugs from a man they called Ozzie – the defendant Small – who they regarded as their friend, while Darby was not picked out during an identity parade.

He said Small and Darby came to their door first, with Elliott among those he saw in his home during the disturbance, with a number of men seen during the attack.

Mr Hardwell told the court during cross-examination: “They’re all as guilty as one another.

“They all came into my house with the intention of hurting us.”

He also said he was giving evidence to get justice for his friend.

The case, which started on Tuesday, January 14, could last up to five weeks.