Murder accused Niramax boss Neil Elliott 'lives in one of biggest houses in Hartlepool' court is told as he gives evidence in Michael Phillips murder trial

Niramax boss Neil Elliott cam from humble beginnings to live in one of the biggest houses in Hartlepool, a jury was told today as he gave evidence in Michael Phillips murder trial

By Sophie Brownson
Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 5:35 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 5:53 pm
The trial into the murder of Michael Phillips at Teesside Crown Court.
The trial into the murder of Michael Phillips at Teesside Crown Court.

Prosecutor Nicholas Johnson QC said that Elliott came from humble beginnings to have "that sort of status and wealth" in reference to the fact that Elliott lives in one of the biggest houses in Hartlepool.

Elliot, along with six others deny the murder of Michael Phillips, who died aged 39, in an attack at a property on Rydal Street, Hartlepool last year.

The seven men 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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On Wednesday, February 5, Elliott returned to the witness stand and told the court he ‘didn’t believe it’ when he was told Mr Phillips had died.

The court heard that Elliott had left the address where Michael Phillips was after an altercation when the group received a call to say an ambulance had been called to Rydal Street.

Elliott said: "I was confused why an ambulance was called

"I didn't understand why."

Elliott said he first heard that Mr Phillips had died from 'people on the street' he said: "I think I was a bit dumbstruck."

Elliott said they went back to Tommy McGuigan Grove borrowed Darby's dad's van and headed to Rydal Street before going to Wordsworth Avenue.

He said the ambulance was still on Rydal Street.

Elliott said: "At that point I still didn't believe it.

"I honestly thought, and this sounds terrible, that they were lying."

Elliott said: "One of my friends rang me and said the lad on Rydal Street is dead."

He said he still didn't believe it and returned home where he turned to Facebook to see if it was true that Mr Phillips had died.

Elliott said: "At the time of going to bed I had been told that Michael Phillips had died.

"I still didn't believe it. I didn't sleep, I sat up in bed and I remember that night looking on Facebook.

"If that was the truth and Michael had died someone would have put it on Facebook because that is what happens.

"I was looking and looking and couldn't see nothing.

"I still believed at that time that they were lying."

The court then heard how the day after Elliott went to Coventry for an arranged meeting.

Elliott said: "It wasn't an important meeting because I kept putting it off."

He said: "The sole purpose of going was to get my head right. I was scared."

Elliott was arrested in Coventry.

Questioned by Caroline Goodwin QC, of Darby's defence team, Elliott was asked if he agreed that whatever happened at the house, no one intended for Michael Phillips to die. Elliott agreed.

The trail will resume at 10.30am on Thursday, February 6.