The face of a killer who admitted murder of Hartlepool man Lee Cooper
This is the face of a killer who has admitted to the murder of Hartlepool man Lee Cooper.
On the eighth day of his trial at Teesside Crown Court, ex-factory worker Neil Maxwell admitted the murder of Hartlepool man Lee Cooper.
Neil Maxwell, 40, had never denied the killing, but had argued that he had lost control during the incident in December 23 last year.
Lee Cooper suffered more than 100 injuries in the attack, which happened outside a hostel just after 7am in Westbourne Street in Stockton.
He sought a conviction for manslaughter – rather than murder – at his trial at Teesside Crown Court.
Luke Pearson, 19, of Westbourne Street, Stockton, is still on trial for murder, which he denies.
This morning Judge Stephen Ashurst told the jury: “Maxwell has never suggested it was an accident or that he did not intent at least very serious injury or to kill him.
“He seeks to rely on a provision in law of loss of control as a partial defence to murder.”
But Judge Ashurst told the jury that following legal discussion he had rejected the defence of loss of control in Maxwell’s case.
Following this, Maxwell, of Lytton Court, North Ormesby, stood up in the dock and pleaded guilty to the charge of murder.
Giving evidence earlier in the trial, Maxwell admitted killing Lee Cooper.
He said that Cooper had attacked his friend and he had wanted to send him a message in return.
“I did mean to cause him a bit of grief but I did not want to kill no-body, he didn’t deserve to be dead.”
Maxwell claimed he ‘just went beserk’ when confronted by Mr Cooper and two friends and ended up killing him.
“I hit him in the head – three whacks in the head. Put him out straight away.
“I was angry, a bit of a frenzy.
“I just want to say sorry to the family and to my own family.”
Maxwell said he did not intend to kill Mr Cooper and he was ‘gutted for the lad and his family’.
He will be sentenced following the conclusion of the trial of Luke Pearson.