Tyne & Wear

Men guilty of John Hall baseball bat killing

Nicholas Rought and Stuart Smith Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption Nicholas Rought and Stuart Smith will be sentenced on Wednesday

Two men have been found guilty of killing a man who was beaten to death with a baseball bat.

Grandfather John Hall, 46, of Shiney Row, Sunderland, was found by a dog walker in West Rainton, County Durham, in September 2013.

He had also had his throat cut and had 20 fractures to his ribs.

Nicholas Rought and Stuart Smith denied murder. Rought was found guilty of murder and Smith was cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter.

The jury at Newcastle Crown Court heard the killing followed a grudge that Rought, 45, of Princess Street, Shiney Row, had held against Mr Hall for more than 20 years.

Image copyright Durham Police
Image caption Police said John Hall was killed in an "extremely violent" way

'Dangerous men'

Det Ch Insp Christina Barrett, of Northumbria Police, said Mr Hall had been killed in an "extremely violent and brutal way".

"Those involved in his death viciously attacked him and went on to try and hide his body," she said.

"They lied to his family and the police about their involvement in his death and I hope that John's family can take some reassurance from the fact that both of these dangerous men will be off the streets for a long time.

"I want to praise John's family for being so strong and supportive throughout the investigation and I also want to thank the local community in Houghton for the help that they gave officers while carrying out inquiries."

Rought and Smith, 42, of no fixed address, are due to be sentenced on Wednesday.

A third man, Paul Tate, 49, from Sunderland, who was also charged with murder, was found dead inside a cell at Holme House prison, Stockton, in September.

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