Tees

Stockton murder trial: Man 'stripped, slashed and stamped on'

Lee Cooper Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Lee Cooper died in hospital after being injured in Stockton

A man was stripped, slashed, beaten and stamped on by two men with whom he had a "simmering feud", a court has heard.

Lee Cooper, 43, died in hospital after being found near his home in Westbourne Street, Stockton-on-Tees, on 23 December.

Teesside Crown Court heard Luke Pearson, 19, and Neil Maxwell, 40, used a hammer, Stanley knife, knuckle duster and a TV stand as weapons.

The pair have admitted killing Mr Cooper but deny his murder.

The court heard a feud had developed after Mr Maxwell, of Lytton Court, North Ormesby, and Mr Pearson, of Westbourne Street, Stockton, allegedly attacked a friend of the victim.

Jurors were told a post-mortem examination showed more than 100 injuries on Mr Cooper's body, including multiple skull fractures and 24 puncture wounds to his back which were consistent with the use of the spiked knuckle duster.

'Screaming and hysterical'

Prosecutor Nick Dry said much of the attack was captured on CCTV and seen by neighbours in the residential street.

He said an experienced military air ambulance doctor described Mr Cooper's injuries as worse than anything he had seen in his four tours of Afghanistan.

In a police interview shown to the court, neighbour Natalie Leeming said she saw Neil Maxwell hitting Mr Copper in the face with a hammer.

She described how she hid behind a van "screaming and hysterical" as she claimed the two defendants repeatedly slashed at Mr Cooper's back.

Mr Maxwell claims he was in fear of serious violence which caused him to lose control.

Mr Pearson says his mental health was "substantially impaired" and denies murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The trial continues.

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