Witness tried to stop Jonty Hall murder, court told

VICTIM ... John 'Jonty' Hall.
VICTIM ... John 'Jonty' Hall.
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AN eyewitness to the shocking murder of John ‘Jonty’ Hall has told jurors he tried to put an end to the brutal violence that night.

Colin Brown was at the house in Shiney Row, Sunderland, where the 46-year-old dad-of-two was beaten to death in the dining room last September.

Mr Brown told Newcastle Crown Court yesterday he saw Nicholas Rought, Stuart Smith and Paul Tate beating Mr Hall in an attack that went from “happy slapping” to “dreadful murder”.

Rought, 45, of Princess Street, Shiney Row, and Smith, 42, of no fixed address, both deny murder and are being tried by a jury.

Tate, 49, was jointly charged over the death, but cut his own throat in a prison suicide while being held on remand.

Mr Brown told jurors yesterday: “Paul was in the room giving Jonty what the other two gave him.

“I witnessed all three setting about him with a baseball bat. All I heard was Paul Tate saying ‘get the knife and I’ll cut his throat’.

“It was more terrifying than anything to watch.”

Mr Brown said he saw Rought stab a meat fork into Mr Hall’s neck during the violence.

He said despite being “terrified” by what he saw happening to Mr Hall, he had tried to call the police and even attempted to physically put a stop to the attack.

He said: “I said ‘leave him alone’. I told them to stop it.

“I tried to jump on Stuey’s back to get him away.

“He pushed me back in the sitting room.”

Mr Brown said he had tried to phone the police using his mobile during the attack, but his phone was taken off him by Smith, who warned him, “don’t do that, watch what happens now”.

Mr Brown said he went upstairs while the attack was still going on and saw blood on the walls and carpet when he went downstairs the next day.

He denied playing any part in the violence, removal of the body or clean-up at the house afterwards and said he had visited a priest the next morning.

Mr Hall’s body was found dumped in foliage in Marks Lane, West Rainton, by a dog walker.

•The trial continues.