Murder victim suffered more than 100 injuries in brutal attack - doctor described injuries as 'worse than he had seen in Afghanistan'

A murder victim sufffered more than 100 injuries during an orgy of violence that ended his life, a court heard.

Tuesday, 4th June 2019, 16:31 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th June 2019, 16:35 pm
The case is being heard at Teesside Crown Court.

Lee Cooper, 43, from Hartlepool, was viciously assaulted with weapons including a hammer, a craft knife, a spiked knuckleduster, and a television stand a jury was told.

The horrific street attack was captured on CCTV and witnessed by horrified residents which a court heard was the 'end game of a simmering feud'.

Teesside Crown Court heard how an air ambulance doctor who rushed to the scene said the injuries worse than he had seen in four tours of Afghanistan.

Neil Maxwell and Luke Pearson have gone on trial accused of the attack which allegedly saw two other men injured.

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"This began at about 5.30am and culminated with the killing of Mr Cooper after 7am in what the Crown says was the endgame of a simmering feud," said Nick Dry, prosecuting.

"Much of it was captured on CCTV, and it was witnessed by horrified residents.

"The vicious attack on Mr Cooper continued as he lay defenceless in the gutter.

"The defendants were seen to go into Pearson's house to get more weapons.

"Pearson picked up a discarded television stand which he used on Mr Cooper.

"An air ambulance doctor who attended Mr Cooper described his injuries as worse than he had seen in four tours of Afghanistan with the military.

"Mr Cooper was pronounced dead just before 10.15am that morning."

The court heard the attacks on three men all took place near Pearson's home in Westbourne Street, Stockton.

At about 5.30am Maxwell and Pearson attacked and seriously injured Matthew Elsey, an associate of Mr Cooper.

Maxwell 'extensively slashed' Mr Elsey, assisted by Pearson who was armed with a chain.

At about 6.15am both men allegedly assaulted Jamie Jackson, who was known to Maxwell, Prosecutors do not know why he was targeted.

The court heard that on the previous day Mr Cooper and another man had allegedly assaulted an associate of Maxwell and Pearson.

Mr Cooper was arrested then bailed a few hours later.

Maxwell and Pearson heard of his release and set about tracking him down to avenge the attack on their friend.

Mr Cooper wanted to confront Maxwell and Pearson in consequence of their attack on Mr Elsey.

That confrontation took place in Westbourne Street, the jury was told.

Mr Dry said Mr Cooper struck the first blow using a pole, but after a short stand off, Maxwell ''took Mr Cooper to the ground' before commencing the fatal attack, assisted by Pearson.

When interviewed by police after Mr Cooper's death, Maxwell said he was proud of what he had done.

Pearson told officers he had done them a favour.

Maxwell, 40, of Lytton Court, North Ormesby, denies the murder of Lee Cooper.

He admits wounding Matthew Elsey with intent to do him grievous bodily harm.

Maxwell also admits assaulting Jamie Jackson occasioning him actual bodily harm, all on December 23, last year.

Pearson, 19, of Westbourne Street, Stockton, denies the murder of Lee Cooper.

He admits wounding Matthew Elsey with intent to do him grievous bodily harm.

He denies assaulting Jamie Jackson, occasioning him actual bodily harm.

Mr Dry said both men now accept killing Mr Cooper, but Maxwell claims he acted in fear of serious violence causing him to lose control.

Loss of control is a partial defence to murder which, if accepted, would make Maxwell guilty of manslaughter.

The jury was told that Pearson's defence is that his mental health problems impaired his ability to make rational judgments.

If his defence of diminished responsibility is accepted, he would be guilty of manslaughter.

Mr Dry said the prosecution do not accept either defence, alleging that both men are guilty of murder.

The trial is expected to take two weeks.

Proceeding.