Michael Phillips murder trial: Niramax boss tells court he ‘never intended for anyone to die'

A jury in the trial of seven men accused of murdering Hartlepool man Michael Phillips have heard of how Niramax boss Neil Elliott ‘never intended for anyone to die.’

Friday, 31st January 2020, 2:57 pm
Updated Friday, 31st January 2020, 5:46 pm

Michael Phillips, 39, was pronounced dead at a house in Rydal Street, Hartlepool, on the night of Monday, June 10, following an attack which left him with more than 50 injuries.

They 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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Seven men accused of murdering Hartlepool man Michael Phillips are on trial at Teesside Crown Court.

During the final part of the prosecution’s case the court heard a series of agreed facts that were read out by prosecutor Nicholas Johnson QC.

This included a prepared statement from defendant, Neil Elliott, a Niramax boss, in which he denied murder and said he “never intended for anyone to be injured or anyone to die.”

The statement went on to say: “I am shocked and devastated that this person has died and I cannot stop thinking about how this could have happened and what his family must be going through.”

The court heard, from his statement, that on June 10, 2019, Elliott had received a call from his daughter to say her car had been stolen.

He said he had driven around looking for the car and asked friends and family to do the same.

Then, after finding the car, he said it was necessary to find the old key to prevent further theft.

The court heard how some of his friends had knocked on a door of Westbourne Road in the town which has CCTV and it showed the car driving down the street.

Another friend who lived on the same road said he had CCTV and this was watched by Elliot which showed two men wearing a coat that had been in daughter's car and another wearing a blue coat.

Elliott then decided to drive about to see if he could find those involved. He said he drove around the Oxford Road area and spoke to someone who gave the name of someone on Rydal Street.

The statement said that Elliott attended three properties on Rydal Street and at the second property “things got heated” and he “regrets to say” that he punched a man in the face but didn’t think he had caused him harm.

He said that “everyone was shouting and fighting” and that he was “trying to find out about the burglary.”

Elliott said that the people at the address then gave him the names of people who lived up the street and they then went to a third house but the residents were not in.

Elliot said he was at a friend’s house when he received a phone call to say that an ambulance has been called to Rydal Street in Hartlepool.

His statement read: “I felt sick as I didn’t think anyone had been hurt.”

The court heard how Elliot then drove back to Rydal Street to see if it was true that an ambulance was needed.

He said: “I still couldn’t believe this has happened and I am in a state of shock.

“I never intended for anyone to be seriously injured in any way and never intended for anyone to be killed.”

The case will continue on Tuesday, February 4.