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Two men convicted of horrific killing

John Hall Credit: Northumbria Police

Two men have been convicted of killing John "Jonty" Hall at a house in County Durham.

Mr Hall was beaten to death last September.

His battered body was then dumped in a ditch.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 46 year old had 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.

Nicholas Rought, 45, of Princess Street, Shiney Row, denied he played any part in the killing. He was convicted of murder after five hours deliberation by a jury.

Stuart Smith, 42, of no fixed address, also denied murder during a two week trial at Newcastle Crown Court.Jurors found him guilty of manslaughter. He was cleared of the murder charge.

Both men will be sentenced tomorrow.

Mystery still surrounds exactly what happened in the dining room where the 46-year-old dad was killed while surrounded by friends.Jurors were told various versions of events by witnesses who were there during 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 September 27.

Man convicted of murder

John Hall

A man who beat up his childhood friend with a baseball bat has been found guilty of murder.

Nicholas Rought, 45, of Princess Street, Shiney Row, has been convicted of the murder of 46-year-old John Hall at a house in Shiney Row.

His body was found in a country lane at West Rainton near to Durham City,

Another defendant, Stuart Smith, 42, of no fixed abode, originally from Shotley Bridge, was acquitted of murder but convicted of manslaughter at Newcastle Crown Court.

They will be sentenced on Wednesday.

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In pictures: Police drugs raids in County Durham

A wake up call for suspected drug dealers Credit: ITV News

Police have carried out a series of dawn raids across County Durham targeting suspected drug dealers. The operation was linked to searches in other parts of the country, including Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester. In total, 15 people were arrested, 7 in County Durham.

Signs of entry Credit: ITV News
Officers searched the properties Credit: ITV News

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Police fitness figures broken down

Police in 27 force areas have provided information on how many officers have taken fitness tests and how many have failed. Here are the North East results - Northumbria Police's statistics were unavailable.

  • CLEVELAND - 614 took the test, 18 failed, 16 were women
  • DURHAM - 216 took the test, 3 failed, all were women
  • NORTH YORKSHIRE - 1037 took the test, 28 failed, 21 were women

Sussex tested the most officers, with 1282 people taking the test. The most fails came from Suffolk, who had 58 fails from 829 people tested.

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