'I’m a nice person, I would never hurt a soul on my life' insists Blackhall murder trial defendant

A man has admitted murdering a Blackhall man who was found dead in his bed after dramatically changing his plea.

Monday, 19th April 2021, 4:44 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 10:47 am

Marty Bates, 31, of Tenth Street, Blackhall Colliery, previously denied the murder of John Littlewood, 36, and has been standing trial at Teesside Crown Court for several weeks.

But on Monday, April 19, the charge was put to him again and he pleaded guilty to murdering Mr Littlewood between Friday, July 26, and Wednesday, July 31, in 2019.

Mr Littlewood was found dead in his bed by his concerned on-off partner when she went to check on him on July 30.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

John Littlewood, was found dead inside his house in Third Street, Blackhall Colliery, on Tuesday, July 30, 2019.

The trial heard he had suffered significant head injuries said to have been caused by a weapon, most likely a hammer.

Bates was remanded in custody to be sentenced on a date to be decided.

Prosecutor Richard Wright said Bates had gone to Mr Littlewood’s house shortly after midnight on July 26 with a plan to attack him.

He is said to have entered by the back door and gone up to his bedroom before attacking him multiple times with a blunt weapon causing devastating injuries that would have left him covered in blood.

John Littlewood, was found dead inside his house in Third Street, Blackhall Colliery, on Tuesday, July 30, 2019.

Tracey Bunney, 45, also of Tenth Street, who was said to be in a relationship with Bates at the time, is still being tried for murder, which she denies.

She is said to have been a “secondary party” by driving Bates to the rear of Mr Littlewood’s house with the intention Bates was going to cause him serious harm.

Bunney denies this or knowing afterwards that Bates had killed him.

She said they were driving to a garage to buy some alcohol and Bates got out before she drove off.

Police cordoned off the house as part of inquiries into the tragic death of John Littlewood.

The jury were previously told the couple had rowed over an affair Bates had and he accused Bunney of an affair with Mr Littlewood.

The prosecution clam Bunney knew Mr Littlewood was dead after a witness said they saw her go inside Mr Littlewood’s house with two other people two days later.

But she denied she went inside.

Under cross examination, Bunney said: “I didn’t know Marty had killed him at all.”

She added: “I’m a nice person, I would never hurt a soul on my life or be involved in hurting people.”

The trial continues.

Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest on SAFC and new puzzles every day.

With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.