A MAN accused of bludgeoning his friend to death with a hammer after he spilled cider on his carpet offered to help police officers investigating his disappearance, a court heard.

Darlington man Alan Youngson died from massive head injuries after being hit with a hammer in August last year.

Nearly two months later on October 7, his partially decomposed body was found in a shallow grave in woodland near Jedburgh Drive, in the Darlington’s Branksome area.

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Twenty-nine-year-old Daniel Dodsworth denies murdering Mr Youngson claiming he acted in self-defence. He admits preventing his lawful burial.

Police initially launched a missing persons inquiry after a number of people became concerned about the 25-year-old Mr Youngson’s whereabouts.

In a statement read out at Teesside Crown Court, DS Andrew Crowe, of Durham Police, said he attended the defendant’s house in Branksome Green, Darlington, on September 22 to discuss Mr Youngson’s disappearance.

He said: “When he arrived he appeared in good spirits. He stated he was just in the middle of his Sunday dinner and was drinking lager with his meal.

“He stated he was happy to assist the police in the search and wanted to do anything he could so that the police could find him as soon as possible.”

The jury heard the pair had met while in prison in 2010 and remained friends, although they had lost contact during the year before Mr Youngson’s death.

A chance encounter on August 15 led them to spend the evening drinking Frosty Jack’s cider together at Mr Dodsworth’s house.

When Mr Youngson allegedly spilled a pint of alcohol on the floor, staining the cream carpet, Mr Dodsworth said he became annoyed but initially told police officers this did not lead him to attack his friend, the court heard.

“If you are going to say did I murder him over spilled drinks – no,” he said.

Instead he claimed he lent Mr Youngson his bike so he could cycle home.

The jury heard that although the defendant had since redecorated his dining room and bought a new table and chairs, Mr Youngson’s DNA was found in blood splatters in the room.

He also replaced the carpet the day after the alleged attack.

The trial continues.