A GRIEVING daughter made a moving tribute to her father on the day his killers – who cruelly convinced her he was still alive – were put behind bars.
Bethany Hall launched a desperate search for her father John, known as Jonty, when he disappeared from his home in Shiney Row last September.
She visited the house in Shiney Row where Mr Hall, 46, was brutally killed and was told by his murderer, Nicholas Rought, that her dad must be around somewhere.
All the while, Rought and killer Stuart Smith, who had stayed silent when Rought gave his victim’s desperate daughter the false hope, knew John Hall was lying dead in a ditch. Mr Hall’s body was found hidden in undergrowth by a dog walker, the day after his brutal death.
At Newcastle Crown Court yesterday, Rought, 45, of Princess Street, Shiney Row, was sentenced to life behind bars and told he must serve a minimum of 19 years before he can even apply for parole.
Smith, 42, of no fixed address, was given a 15-year sentence for manslaughter.
After they were sentenced, Miss Hall said: “No sentence could ever reflect the pain and heartache we felt as a family. What we have lost is irreplaceable and we must live with our loss every day. Nothing can justify what happened to our dad.”
Rought and Smith had denied involvement in Mr Hall’s death, which happened at a house in Mill Terrace, Shiney Row.
Mr Hall suffered such severe injuries that his face was left “flat and without structure” and he also had his throat cut, was stabbed with a fork and had multiple wounds inflicted to his body, hands, penis and testicles.
A jury concluded Rought had used a baseball bat to inflict the gruesome injuries, while Smith played a lesser part in the violence.
Both men had previously pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice in connection to their efforts to dispose of Mr Hall’s body and clean up the house where the killing happened.
Judge John Milford rejected the claim that the killing was linked to a feud between Rought and Mr Hall, which had gone on for over two decades and said the violence appears to have simply “exploded”.