Jonty Hall murder accused claims ‘delusional thoughts’ made him confess

VICTIM ... John 'Jonty' Hall.
VICTIM ... John 'Jonty' Hall.
Have your say

MURDER accused Nicholas Rought has told jurors he was suffering “delusional thoughts” when he confessed to killing John ‘Jonty’ Hall.

The 45-year-old told detectives during questioning he “released all his demons” and felt better after beating the dad-of-two to death at a house in Mill Terrace, Shiney Row, Sunderland, last September.

But Rought, who denies murder, now says he is not to blame for the killing.

He told the court yesterday: “I have never thought about killing John Hall. If I was going to kill him, I would have killed him years ago.”

Rought has admitted he hit Mr Hall with a baseball bat but claims it was others who went on to kill the 46-year-old in the dining room attack at the house after he left the room.

He confessed he helped dispose of Mr Hall’s body and has pleaded guilty to a charge of perverting the course of justice.

He has told jurors at Newcastle Crown Court he was still suffering the effects of amphetamine he took after the killing when he was interviewed by the police in the days after and was “ranting and raving” rather than telling the truth.

Rought said that during his interrogation by detectives, he was suffering flashbacks to when he was kidnapped and tortured by gangsters in 1993 and other occasions when he had been the victim of violence.

He told jurors: “From the paperwork, as soon as I have said I have killed him, I have also said in the next paragraph he had me shot in the leg.

“I have no such wound. I was suffering delusional thoughts, which is well documented in my medical history.

“After I’ve read through the depositions of my interview, I think I’ve took it all on my toes, haven’t I?

“I’m having delusions in that interview. I didn’t realise what I was saying.

“I don’t know why I have said this whole interview – it was not the truth.”

Rought told jurors he fell out with Mr Hall in 1993 because he blamed him over his kidnapping, during which he was held in Scotland for three days while being beaten and tortured.

But Rought said he and Mr Hall had made up more than two years ago, and he bore no grudge.

He told jurors: “If I was going to kill John Hall, I had plenty of opportunity if I was going to do it when no one else was there, not in front of a woman with one leg, not in front of a room full of alcoholics and not in front of a room full of drug dealers.

“I never thought about killing John Hall. If I was going to kill him, I would have killed him years ago.”

Rought, 45, of Princess Street, Shiney Row, and Stuart Smith, 42, of no fixed address, both deny murder.

Paul Tate, who lived at the house where Mr Hall was killed, was jointly charged with the two other men but killed himself in prison while on remand.

l The trial continues.