A MAN accused of beating a friend to death with a baseball bat had blamed him for his kidnap and torture at hands of Glaswegian gangsters, a court was told today (Tuesday, March 25).

Murder suspect Nicholas Rought said had had been taken away at knifepoint from his home in Shiney Row, Wearside, to the back room of a pub Glasgow in the early 1990s.

He was interrogated for three days over drugs money that had apparently gone missing.

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He said he learned that John “Jonty” Hall had told the gangsters he was responsible.

Mr Rought, along with Stuart Smith, stands accused at Newcastle Crown Court of murdering Mr Hall.

He has admitted hitting the 46-year-old with the bat at a house in Mill Terrace, Shiney Row, on September 14.

But he claims he was acting in self defence when Mr Hall had stabbed him in the leg, as trouble flared during a drinking session – but did not kill him.

Mr Rought denied having shouted “I waited 23 years for this and God has had his justice,” during a sustained attack which left Mr Hall with fatal head injuries.

At an earlier hearing he said he had gone to clean his wound in the shower and returned to find Paul Tate standing with a baseball bat over a motionless Mr Hall, screaming at him.

During cross-examination, prosecutor John Elvidge said the kidnapping had been Mr Rought’s preoccupation for many years and he had “set about him (Mr Hall) with others and beat him to a pulp . . . and enjoyed it”.

Mr Rought said: “I never had any quarrel with John Hall. We made up two years ago.

"If I was going to kill him I had plenty of opportunity to do it when no one else was there."

Earlier in the trial Colin Brown, who has not been charged, said Mr Rought and Mr Smith giggled as they took it in turns to hit Mr Hall.

Mr Rought, 45, of Princess Street, Shiney Row and Mr Smith, 42, of no fixed abode deny murder but have pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice by hiding Mr Hall’s body.

Mr Hall’s body was discovered the day after his death in Mark’s Lane, West Rainton, near Durham.

Mr Tate, 49, of Cambridge Road, Silksworth, Sunderland was also charged, but died on remand. The jury was told he cut his own throat.

The case continues.