Niramax boss Neil Elliott and co-accused face trial next year after denying murder of Michael Phillips
Two men appeared in court charged with murder.
Neil Elliott and Lee Darby are jointly charged with the murder of Michael Phillips, 29, in Rydal Street in Hartlepool on Monday, June 10.
Both men pleaded not guilty during a preliminary hearing at Teesside Crown Court.
The court’s small public gallery was was close to full as the clerk put the charges to the two men.
Elliott, 44, of Briarfield Close, Hartlepool, and a director of waste management company Niramax, pleaded not guilty to assaulting Lee Cardwell occasioning him actual bodily harm.
Darby, 31, of Ridley Court, Hartlepool, pleaded not guilty to possession of a stun gun disguised as a firearm on Wednesday, June 12.
He appeared in court via a videolink from prison.
Nick Johnson QC, prosecuting, told the court police investigations into the case are continuing.
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“It is likely there will be four or five more defendants,” added Mr Johanson.
Prosecuting and defence lawyers agreed the case will take four or five weeks to try.
The judge ordered a further management hearing to take place on September 27, at which he expects all defendants to be present.
The judge asked junior prosecuting barrister Jolyon Perks to contact the victims’ families to invite them to attend the next hearing.
Mr Perks assured the judge the invitation would be made.
A provisional trial date was set of January 6 next year.
Elliott and Darby were remanded in custody in the meantime.