Jury retires to consider verdict in Darren Bonner murder trial

The pair were staying at Cresswell Towers, in Northumberland.
The pair were staying at Cresswell Towers, in Northumberland.

A jury in the trial of a garage boss accused of the murder of one of his workers has retired to consider a verdict.

Darren Bonner was found naked and fatally injured in a freshly-dug shallow grave, hidden behind a dry-stone wall at a Northumberland beauty spot in July last year.

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

Prosecutors claim his 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.

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.

The trial continues.