NICHOLAS Rought shouted “God has had his justice” as he beat John “Jonty” Hall to death with a baseball bat, his co-accused has told murder jurors.
Stuart Smith said Rought, 45, “seemed crazy” and appeared to have “lost the plot, lost control” when he carried out the brutal killing.
Smith said as he tried to stop the attack by Rought, he saw Paul Tate cut the dying man’s throat.
Mr Hall, 46, was killed in the dining room of Tate’s house at Mill Terrace, Shiney Row, Sunderland, last September.
The dad-of-two’s body was found dumped in undergrowth.
Smith, who stands jointly accused with Rought over the murder, told jurors at Newcastle Crown Court yesterday he saw the killing but played no part in it.
The 42-year-old said Mr Hall had started the violence in the house that night when he punched him in the face.
Smith said he retaliated by striking Mr Hall with two punches before he left the room “to get out of the way”.
He added: “When I came back from the kitchen into the dining room Nicholas was on top of Jonty with a baseball bat. He was hitting Jonty with it, just striking him with it. He seemed crazy, lost the plot, lost control.
“I said ‘woah Nicky, what you doing man’ and I tried to pull him away.
“He said ‘I’ve waited 23 years for this man’.
“He was like a nutter, loud.
“He said something along the lines of ‘God has had his justice’.”
Smith said he tried to pull Rought away and stop the attack.
He said Tate, who was also in the room, was “kicking in to Jonty”.
Smith said he was panicking after the killing and “stupidly” helped dump Mr Hall’s body.
Rought, of Princess Street, Shiney Row, and Smith, of no fixed address, both deny murder.
Tate, 49, was jointly charged over the killing but cut his own throat while in custody on remand.
l The trial continues.