KILLER Stuart Smith believed the man he battered to death was “a bully”.
He told jurors during the trial he was never close to Jonty, but would come into contact with him through Paul Tate, who he had known for more than 20 years.
Smith was staying at Tate’s house at the time of the murder because he had fallen out with his girlfriend, who he lived with in Houghton.
He told jurors he had known Jonty for 10 to 15 years, but they had never been close.
Smith, who was unemployed but carried out undeclared work as a roofer, said: “He was a bully. He would go around taking drugs off people, things like that.”
The 42-year-old had claimed he had witnessed the horrific killing of the father-of-two but played no part.
He lied by claiming he had tried to stop Rought carrying out the baseball bat attack.
He said Rought seemed “relieved” after the killing, whereas he felt terrified and said “things couldn’t get any worse”.
He told jurors: “We decided to get rid of him.”
Smith said Jonty’s body was dragged to a builder’s yard near to the house he was killed and then put into Rought’s car.
Smith said he, Rought and Tate had tried to dump Mr Hall’s body in the area of Hazard Lane but were unable to gain access so took him to St Marks Lane.
He added: “It was a bit of a ditch and he got covered in grass.”