Michael Phillips murder trial: Jury played call to police warning men had arrived to 'batter' victim

The call alerting police to an attack which led to the death of a Hartlepool man has been played to a murder trial jury.

Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 6:00 am

Michael 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.

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.

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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.

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 Elliott’s daughter.

A dog walker saw men leave Rydal Street and go into neighbouring Keswick Street, where they got into a black 4x4 and black pick-up truck before “shooting up” towards Elwick Road.

Michael Phillips, 39, died after an assault in a house in Rydal Street in Hartlepool.

Another said he saw three men, two with hoods ups and the other covering his face with a jumper, enter the house.

Robin Lowrie, who lived in the street, also gave evidence.

During his evidence so far, a tape of the call he made to police was played to jurors.

Mr Lowrie told a 999 operator: “Ten people have gone into one of the houses to kick, to batter him.

Police in Rydal Street as inquiries were carried out into the death of Michael Phillips.

“They’ve got weapons and everything, please, they’ve gone in there now.”

He said one man had a metal bar and saw another knock on the door before others ran in.

He told the operator he saw a man carrying a laptop, which was dropped as police arrived.

Mr Lowrie insisted he saw the attack when challenged that he had heard details of it later from the housemate of Mr Phillips.

Under cross-examination, Mr Lowrie accepted he had a history of making hoax calls but said he had put that behind him and that history had nothing to do with this.

The trial continues.