Tyne & Wear

John Hall baseball bat killing pair jailed

Nicholas Rought and Stuart Smith Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption Nicholas Rought and Stuart Smith had denied murder

Two men who beat a man to death with a baseball bat have been jailed.

The body of John Hall, 46, was discovered by a dog walker in West Rainton, County Durham, in September. He had been beaten and had also had his throat cut.

Nicholas Rought was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life with a minimum term of 19 years.

Stuart Smith, who was cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter, was jailed for 15 years.

The jury at Newcastle Crown Court heard Mr Hall had been killed in an "extremely violent and brutal way".

Image copyright Durham Police
Image caption John Hall had 20 fractures to his ribs

After the attack, the two men attempted to hide the body.

'Pain and heartache'

The killing followed a grudge that Rought, 45, of Princess Street, Shiney Row, had held against Mr Hall for more than 20 years.

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.

Speaking after the sentencing, Mr Hall's family said in a statement: "No sentence could ever reflect the pain and heartache we feel as a family.

"The man that we knew and loved was a family man who loved nature and the outdoors and would go out of his way to help anyone he could.

"What we have lost is irreplaceable and we must live with our loss every day."

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