Court told of dog walker’s shock at finding Jonty Hall’s body

VICTIM ... John 'Jonty' Hall.
VICTIM ... John 'Jonty' Hall.
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A DOG walker described to a murder jury how he discovered the battered body of John “Jonty” Hall in undergrowth while out walking his puppy.

Peter Hall was taking seven-month-old Labrador, Solo, along St Mark’s Lane, in West Rainton, at about 6.30pm on Sunday, March 15 last year, when he noticed a large mound of grass.

In a police statement read to Newcastle Crown Court, Mr Hall said: “I noticed a bit of pink colouring coming out of the grass.

“I said ‘that looks like human flesh’. I removed the grass and noticed what I thought was blue tattoos on a human arm.

“I then noticed a heel sticking out and this person clearly had no shoe on.”

The evidence was given during the trial of Nicholas Rought, 45, of Princess Street, Shiney Row, and Stuart Smith, 42, of no fixed address, who are both charged with Mr Hall’s murder.

The 46-year-old, of Herrington Burn, died after suffering at least 10 blows to the face with a baseball bat, which resulted in massive injuries.

He had also endured multiple blows to his head and body in the form of punches, slaps or kicks. It is claimed the dad-of-two was beaten to death at a house in Mill Terrace, Shiney Row, on Saturday, March 14, before his body was dumped in St Mark’s Lane.

Newcastle Crown Court also heard evidence from forensic scientist Dr Gemma Escott, who examined the Mill Terrace house in the days after Mr Hall’s death.

She told the court how she was asked to examine a pair of black gloves, found discarded in the wheelie bin of a neighbouring property.

She said: “The finding of blood on the inside of a pair of gloves suggests they were worn by someone with blood on their hands.

“The findings are in keeping with Nicholas Rought having worn these gloves at some point.”

Both Rought and Smith deny murder.

A third man, Paul Tate, 49, of Cambridge Road, Silksworth, had been jointly charged with the killing, but died after cutting his own throat while being held on remand.

l The trial continues.