John Littlewood was bludgeoned to death with hammer while asleep in bed, court hears

A MAN found in his blood-soaked bed had been bludgeoned to death with a hammer, a murder trial heard.

John Littlewood suffered horrendous injuries when he was attacked in his own bed by a friend following a drunken dispute hours earlier.

Marty Bates let himself into the Mr Littlewood’s Blackhall Colliery home in the early hours of July 26, 2019, before launching the fatal and sustained attack on his prone victim.

His body was discovered four days later by his on/off girlfriend Julie Muir after she became concerned she hadn’t heard from him for several days.

Richard Wright QC, prosecuting, said Bates was assisted in the commission of the killing by his partner, Tracey Bunney.

CCTV footage was shown to the jury in which Mr Wright said a bare-chested Bates can be seen walking back towards his home from the direction of Third Street in the early hours of Friday, July 26.

The court heard how Bates and Bunney had spent the day drinking with their friend, known as John D, before trouble erupted in the victim’s home and he was violently attacked.

James Riley, who was in the house with his partner Donna Balfour, joined in the attack leaving Mr Littlewood covered in blood. All four then left the terraced house.

Mr Wright QC said Bates and Bunney returned a few hours later and it was at this point that Bates launched the fatal attack with a hammer.

Days after the alleged murder, a witness saw Balfour and Riley kicking at John’s door as Bunney and Bates stood in the street.

When she asked what was happening, the group told her they wanted to see if John was alright.

Bates then told the woman ‘I don’t know what you’re bothered for, you didn’t even like him anyway’.

The prosecution say that remark highlighted that Bates was fully aware of what had happened to Mr Littlewood.

Bates, 31, and 45-year-old Ms Bunney, of Tenth Street, Blackhall Colliery, both deny murder and the trial continues.

The Northern Echo | Durham