Murder trial jury hears how defendant texted girlfriend to say he was 'getting lifed off' after stab victim's death

A man jointly accused of murder alongside a Hartlepool man texted his girlfriend to say he was being “lifed off” just hours after the alleged victim was fatally attacked, a court has heard.

Thursday, 28th March 2019, 3:27 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th March 2019, 3:43 pm
Peter Gilling.
Peter Gilling.

Derek Pallas, 36, is on trial at Teesside Crown Court for the murder of Peter Gilling on September 29 last year.

Mr Gilling, 39, died after he was found with serious injuries outside Melsonby Court flats in Billingham.

Police at the scene outside Melonsby Curt, Billingham.

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Pallas and Hartlepool man Darren Willans, 31, are both accused of his murder.

The jury sitting in the case heard further evidence from Pallas, who has been under cross examination from Willans’ barrister Richard Wright QC.

Mr Wright asked Pallas how he felt when he was told by police officers in interview that Mr Gilling had died.

“I felt empty,” he said.

“It was heartbreaking because he was harmless.”

Mr Wright said: “You are trying to blame Darren Willans for what you did to Peter Gilling.”

Pallas replied: “I didn’t do nothing to Peter Gilling, I have just told the truth.

“Do you know what it feels like to be blamed for killing your friend?”

During his evidence Pallas admitted that he had been convicted or previous violent offences but denied he was untruthful.

“I still help people out and I’ve still got morals,” added Pallas.

Mr Wright added at the end of his cross examination that Pallas had texted his girlfriend twice, first saying “I need to speak to you”, hours after the attack.

He then texted her at 8.36am saying: “Getting lifed off.”

Mr Wright asked: “What were you getting lifed off for Mr Pallas? For what you had done to Peter Gilling?”

Pallas replied: “Not at all.”

Under cross examination from prosecutor David Brooke QC, Pallas was accused of having “crocodile tears” over Mr Gilling’s death when he became emotional while giving evidence.

Mr Brooke suggested that Pallas and Willans were partners in drug-dealing, something Pallas denied.

“You are not really frightened at all are you?” said Mr Brooke.

“I don’t want to put myself in any more danger,” replied Pallas.

“I am not responsible for this.

“I’ve spent half a year on remand for the idea that I killed my friend.

“I’ve had him (Willans) bully me.

“I did not kill Peter Gilling.”

Willans, of Warren Court, Hartlepool, and Pallas, of Marsh House Avenue, Billingham, both deny murder.

The trial continues.