KIERAN WILLIAMS MURDER TRIAL: Accused blamed each other for killing, jurors heard

Two men on trial for the murder of a friend who was found buried in a makeshift grave blamed each other for the killing, jurors have heard.

Kieran Williams, 18, went missing on April 18 last year, after a visit to his mother's home in Sunderland.

Newcastle Crown Court heard six weeks later he was found buried, with multiple stab wounds, in a clandestine grave at a secluded spot in a former industrial estate near the Northern Spire Bridge in the city.

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Jurors have heard Kieran suffered "at least 20" stab wounds to his chest, torso, neck and had injuries to his hands, arms, legs and feet, which may have been from trying to protect himself.

Kieran Williams.

Ben Cook, 19, of Fordfield Road, and Louis Hackett, 20, of Fordenbridge Square, both Sunderland, deny Kieran's murder and are being tried by a jury.

The court has heard the pair claimed to know nothing about the teenager's disappearance when questioned by the police while he was missing.

But in a prepared statement made on June 4, after the teenager's body was found, Hackett told detectives he and Kieran had walked to a spot near the bridge and met Cook on April 18.

He said: "When we got there Ben was already there. Ben was angry with Kieran about something, Ben and Kieran had an argument.

"I was trying to stop the argument. Next thing I know, Ben takes out a knife and stabs him loads of times.

"I tried to pull Ben off him. Kieran collapsed.

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"Ben asked me to help him, as it was clear Kieran was dead. I didn't, or couldn't, think.

"I helped him bury Kieran.

"I am so sorry. I didn't kill Kieran."

The court heard Cook was arrested later in the day on June 4 and also made a prepared statement and described how he, Hackett and Kieran had been at the "wooded area".

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Cook said he heard two loud thuds and saw Kieran clutching his chest and saw Hackett holding a knife.

He added: "Kieran tried to run but only made it a short distance before he fell to the floor.

"Louis then straddled over Kieran and repeatedly stabbed him while he was on the floor

"I recall seeing blood coming from Kieran's mouth and him saying words to the affect he was going to die.

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"This didn't stop Louis at all.

"Once he stopped the attack he stood up and told me to grab Kieran's legs and move the body.

"At this point I was very frightened and scared for my own safety as Louis still had the knife in his hand. I feared I may be next.

"I accept I helped Louis move the body. I lifted Kieran by the legs while Louis held his arms. We moved him a few meters, where Louis told me to put him down.

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"Once I put him down Louis squirted liquid onto Kieran's body and set his body alight. The body was alight for possibly 30 seconds.

"After the fire had gone out Louis started to cover the body with leaves, twigs and shrubbery from the surrounding area.

"Louis then pointed the knife at me and told me to help, which I did, fearing for my own safety.

"Once the body was covered I followed Louis as he walked to the river and he threw the knife into the river."

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Cook said Hackett warned him not to tell anyone and "that me and my family would be next".

The trial continues.