A MAN who inflicted a savage beating on his childhood friend with a baseball bat has been found guilty of murder.

Nicholas Rought has this morning been convicted of the murder of 46-year-old John Hall at a house in Shiney Row. His body was then dumped in a country lane at West Rainton, near Durham City.

Fellow defendant Stuart Smith was acquitted of murder, but convicted of manslaughter at Newcastle Crown Court.

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Rought, 45, of Princess Street, Shiney Row, and Smith, 42, of no fixed abode but originally from Shotley Bridge, in County Durham, will return to court tomorrow to be sentenced.