Caravan cleaner gives evidence at murder trial after man found dying in shallow grave

Darren Bonner was staying at Cresswell Towers.
Darren Bonner was staying at Cresswell Towers.

A holiday park caravan was "in a very messy state" after an alleged fatal attack, murder jurors have heard.

Prosecutors claim Darren Bonner could have received the injuries which led to his death during a weekend break at Creswell Towers in Northumberland with his killers Richard Spottiswood and Lucy Burn.

Mr Bonner's body was found in a freshly dug grave, covered with tree roots.

Mr Bonner's body was found in a freshly dug grave, covered with tree roots.

The 24-year-old, from Sunderland, was later found naked, injured and unresponsive in an open, freshly dug grave hidden amongst undergrowth behind a roadside dry stone wall at nearby Shore Road.

His body had been covered with tree roots.

Mr Bonner, who medics believed had been strangled and hit at least 12 times with a rod shaped weapon, died in hospital 16 days after he was discovered.

Spottiswood, 34, of Canterbury Way, Jarrow, and Burn, 29, of Burns Close, South Shields, both deny murder and are being tried by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.

Jurors have heard evidence from two cleaners who were tasked to prepare the three bedroom caravan for new guests after the group had left.

Cordelia Cameron, who was tasked to clean the bedrooms and bathroom, told the court: "It was in a very messy state. There was grass, cut grass everywhere.

"There was mud on the sheets and in the bedrooms."

Read more: 'Sunderland man murdered by Jarrow boss and South Shields woman after drugs row,' hears trial

The cleaner's colleague Fern Barclay, who cleaned the living room and kitchen describe a similar scene.

She said: "It was messy, smelled of smoke, grass everywhere, it looked like there was a party but without rubbish.

"The kitchen area was covered in plates, dirty dishes, everything left out really."

Miss Barclay said despite the messy scene there was "no rubbish" and that a metal grill guard had been pulled off the gas fire, which she replaced.

The cleaner confirmed she was tasked to tidy up a number of caravans.

Read more: Police officer describes shock at finding 'man in grave' covered in tree roots making 'snoring noises'

Judge Stephen Ashurst asked her: "Were any in a state like this?"

She replied: "No."

The judge asked: "Was grass a problem in other caravans?"

And she answered: "Not like this one."

No further witnesses were called during what is the third day of the trial as one of the defence barristers had taken ill.

The trial continues.