Garage boss accused of 'choking the life from' Sunderland employee at murder trial

Mr Bonner was unresponsive when he was found.
Mr Bonner was unresponsive when he was found.

Lawyers in the trial of a garage boss accused of the murder of one of his workers have started making their closing speeches to the jury.

Darren Bonner was naked and unresponsive when officers found him in a freshly-dug shallow grave, hidden behind a dry-stone wall at a Northumberland beauty spot in July last year, after being alerted by a passer-by about suspicious noises.

He died later in hospital.

He died later in hospital.

The 24-year-old, from Sunderland, died in hospital 16 days later, without ever regaining consciousness.

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Prosecutors claim boss Richard Spottiswood deliberately "choked the life from" his employee, then dumped him in the woodland grave at Shore Road, Cresswell, because he believed he had "double crossed" him to a drugs rival.

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Spottiswood, of Canterbury Way, Jarrow, denies murder and is being tried by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.

The 34-year-old has told jurors Mr Bonner, who had joined Spottiswood and his family on a short-break caravan holiday, appeared to stop breathing after he put him in a "20-second" headlock to calm him down during an angry row and that he never intended to hurt him.

Read more: Body found in shallow grave had 32 separate sites of injury, court told

The trial continues.