Jonty Hall was beaten with a bat and stabbed with a fork over a grudge, court told

VICTIM ... John 'Jonty' Hall.
VICTIM ... John 'Jonty' Hall.
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JOHN “Jonty” Hall was beaten to death with a baseball bat over a grudge going back more than 20 years, a court was told.

The 46-year-old sustained such severe injuries that his face was left “flat and without structure”.

The dad of two also had his throat cut, was stabbed with a fork and had multiple wounds inflicted to his body, hands, penis and testicles, Newcastle Crown Court was told.

Nicholas Rought, 45, of Princess Street, Shiney Row, and Stuart Smith, 42, of no fixed address, are both accused of his murder. Both deny the charge.

Yesterday, the court was told that, during an interview with police, Rought admitted killing Mr Hall, saying: “I hit him loads. I released all my demons. I did feel better.”

The body of Mr Hall, known to friends and family as Jonty, was discovered dumped under foliage in Marks Lane, West Rainton, on Sunday, September 15, last year by a dog walker and his son.

The trial heard how the dad, of Burn Terrace in Herrington Burn, had just 24 hours earlier been drinking with the accused at a house in Mill Terrace, Shiney Row.

John Elvidge, prosecuting, said: “John Hall was killed by the defendants. They beat him to death on the evening of September 14.

“He suffered extensive facial fractures. His face was flat and without structure. He suffered injuries to his brain and fractures to his neck.”

The court was told that Mr Hall sustained 14 fractures on the right side of his ribs and six on the left, and he had suffered at least 10 blows to the face with a baseball bat.

On the night of his death, Mr Hall had been in the house with Rought, Smith and Paul Tate, the court was told.

Smith had instigated a game of “slapper”, which involved participants slapping each other across the face as hard as possible.

The court was told that after Mr Hall had slapped Smith, Smith stood up and punched him to the side of the face. Rought then walked over and stuck a fork into the victim’s neck, saying ‘that’s for setting me up years ago’.

The jury heard that Rought, Smith and Tate then took turns to hit Mr Hall with a baseball bat in what Mr Elvidge described as a “prolonged attack”. Following the assault, Mr Hall’s body was moved to a nearby disused builder’s yard before later being carried into Rought’s Rover car and driven to West Rainton to be dumped.

The court heard how carpet was then removed from the scene of the killing, and a fresh coat of paint was put on the blood-spattered walls.

Rought’s car was later found burned out in Foxcover Lane in Sunderland.

After Mr Hall’s family became worried, they raised the alarm.

Soon afterwards, Rought and Smith were arrested and charged with the murder.

Paul Tate, of Cambridge Road, Silksworth, was also charged with Mr Hall’s murder but committed suicide while on remand in Holme House Prison, Stockton, on Friday, September 27.

The court heard that, during questioning, Smith, in a prepared statement, told police he heard Rought say ‘I’ve waited 23 years for this, and now God’s had his justice’ following the attack.

Mr Hall’s father, also called John, told the court his son had long-standing alcohol problems and relied on him and his wife for money to buy a bottle of vodka every day.

The case continues.